Friday, September 9, 2011
By Robert Guttersohn
After four years of township residents having to drive to other towns to use a post office, the U.S. Postal Service is seeking a Liberty retail business in which to operate an alternative post office.
According to a press release from USPS, it is looking for businesses with 180 square feet available to dedicate to a postal unit and one that does not already operate competitor services.
Victor Dubina, a USPS spokesman, said having alternative sites to deliver mail is good for Liberty residents, the business and the postal service.
USPS pays a fee to the business, which Dubina said is negotiated in the contract. The business can advertise the service to its customers, and when consumers search the postal service’s website for the nearest drop-off site, the business’ location will appear.
“It’s free additional advertising,” Dubina said.
Businesses have until next Friday to submit a letter of intent. Then USPS will inspect the location and after contract negotiations, they will train workers.
“We encourage as many businesses as possible to partake,” Dubina said. “The more that express interest, the better.”
There are about 70,000 alternative post offices in the U.S., and the post office is looking to create more of those rather than the more expensive brick-and-mortar post offices as it deals with fiscal troubles, Dubina said.
Liberty’s postal office was in the township’s administration building but ran at a deficit, Trustee Stan Nudell said. Because of that, the township trustees at the time voted to close it.
“It is a great disadvantage for our citizens,” he said, forcing residents to drive to Girard or Youngstown to visit a post office.
Nudell has been in contact with USPS on opening a new location. When USPS realized the number of homes in Liberty without postal service, they realized the area was not properly serviced, Nudell said.
Businesses interested should send inquiries to Retail Specialist, CPU Coordinator, 2200 Orange Ave. #206, Cleveland, OH 44101.