The United States Postal Service released a list today identifying more than 3,000 Post Offices across the country that are being reviewed for possible closure. Don't worry though, neither of Concord's branches — Walden Street or Beharrell Street — were named.
The measure comes as part of a strategy by the Postal Service to streamline operations and save the organization money.
In January of this year, the Post Office issued a similar list of approximately 1,400 offices to be reviewed. Of the offices on that list, only 280 were actually closed, reported the Huffington Post. The decision to begin the review process followed a reported $8 billion loss by the Postal Service in 2010. Today, 3,683 offices, or approximately 11 percent of the offices in the country, were identified for review.
Here in Concord, the only changes taking place at the Post Offices are a reworking of some delivery routes, though according to Postmaster Paul E. Bolas, that transition will be seamless as far as customers are concerned.
With ever-evolving technology, many people are opting for mouse clicks over brick buildings when it comes to sending their mail, but Bolas said there is still a healthy mix of patrons choosing to visit the Post Office these days, due in part to the PO Boxes that are housed at the offices.
"I still get a lot of foot traffic," Bolas said. "With the PO Boxes here, I have a daily influx of customers who are here to pick up their mail, and take care of their other business while they're here also."
"It's really is quite the dynamic at the PO Boxes," he added. "From businesses that like the convenience of being able to get here even before work, to senior citizens."
With a lot of nonprofit and volunteer organizations utilizing the Post Office's services on a regular basis, Bolas said there are still a lot of young people coming and going at both Walden and Beharrell streets as well.
USPS spokesman Dennis Tarmey reminded customers that although some branches may be closing around the country, that does not mean services will be any less accessible.
"We've expanded our access in so many other areas," Tarmey said, referring to the full service website USPS.com; APC machines, which are automated telling booths, like an ATM; and the Village Post Office model, which is expected to pick up the slack where any closures do occur.
Tarmey said the idea behind the Village Post Office model is for a centrally located business in a town where a Post Office has closed, to assume the responsibility of selling stamps, collecting packages, and performing other basic services of the Post Office. With both branches in Concord remaining open, the Village Post Office model will not be instituted here any time soon, though Tarmey did say there's no telling what changes may occur within the Postal Service's structure in the coming years.
Bolas echoed Tarmey's sentiments, touting the resource of USPS.com saying, "You can do everything on that site from mailing express mail, to priority."
"There are many options that are outside of the realm of coming in," via the website, Bolas continued.
Services include having mail held, scheduling pick up of parcels to be mailed, and even shipping items with specially sized boxes and rates that are not available at the walk-up counters.
Visit the website for a full rundown of the services offered.
Overall, Bolas said even though the world is changing in terms of how people send and receive information, one key fact holds true: "Nothing beats getting a letter in the mail."