While the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said Tuesday it will review more than 3,600 branches nationwide to decide which ones to close, post offices in Richmond Heights and Clayton are not on the list.
St. Louis branches under review:
- Gwen B. Giles
- Jefferson. Memorial
- Jordan W. Chambers
A spokeswoman for the USPS in St. Louis told Patch the study covers retail branches only and stressed that delivery is not under review.
“Customers have shown us that they no longer need a brick-and-mortar post office,” USPS spokeswoman Valerie Hughes said. She pointed to the availability of USPS’s automated postal centers, smartphone applications and online services, as well as retailers that sell postage. Hughes said the USPS has seen a decline in post office visits that amounts to 200 million over the past five years.
Postmaster Patrick Donahoe referred to evolving customer behavior in making today’s announcement.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7," Donahoe said in a statement to the media. "Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business."
Review is first step, closure possible
The review process does not mean closure is a sure thing. The Huffington Post reports the USPS announced a review of 1,400 offices in January, but has closed only 280 of those so far and spared another 200.
The closure review covers about 11 percent of post offices around the country, UPI reported in an article. There are more than 31,000 in all.
USPS lost more than $8 billion in 2010, the Huffington Post reported. Its article describes an alternative to the traditional branch, the Village Post Office.
“By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.”
Changing times, changing needs
The USPS began reviewing the viability of its branches in 2009, with a list of more than 3,300 branches. Most survived, with only about 170 still under review by year’s end.
In January 2010, the post office updated the Public Regulatory Commission on the review process, explaining the post offices that faced closure were “in relatively close proximity to one another where consolidations might be feasible without compromising customer access.”
In a USPS news release that month, Dean Granholm, vice president of delivery and post office operations, stated: “Consumer behavior is changing. It is important for the Postal Service to adjust to the shift.”
Uncertainty lingers for one Richmond Heights office
Separate from the review announced Tuesday, , Richmond Heights City Manager Amy Hamilton said recently.
USPS is hopeful someone will buy the building and allow it to rent out a portion of the facility for continued operation.