Some Ashe County post offices will be reducing business hours under the U.S. Postal Service’s Post Office Structure Plan — also known as POStPlan — as part of a nationwide effort to keep open rural post offices.
According to USPS spokesperson Monica Robbs, the following weekday business hours will apply in Ashe County effective Monday:
- Creston — 8-10 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. (five hours)
- Grassy Creek — 12-4 p.m. (four hours)
- Laurel Springs — 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. (six hours)
- Piney Creek — 12-4 p.m. (four hours)
- Warrensville — 12-4 p.m. (four hours)
Saturday hours will remain unchanged.
Citing decreased mail flow due in an increasingly paperless world, the USPS posted over $8 billion in losses between 2001 and 2010 — $5.2 billion in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 alone, according to their financial documents.
Thousands of post masters and postal employees took early retirement buyouts offered by USPS in 2012.
In July 2011, USPS announced it was reviewing 3,700 post offices for possible closure.
According to a USPS press release, “although retail sales and foot traffic for most post offices (have) declined significantly in recent years, the Postal Service has received considerable feedback from communities around the country, requesting their post office remain open for business.”
“In the months that followed the July 2011 announcement, thousands of community meetings were held and surveys were conducted in each affected location. The feedback generated by those meetings and surveys…helped outline the new options being announced now,” read the press release.
As a strategy for preserving the rural post office, POStPlan is “really a win-win compromise,” said Robbs. “We’re matching the (business hours) with the public are already using.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated. The original version listed incorrect hours for the Creston Post Office of 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:15-4:15 p.m.. The correct hours for Creston are 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m..