Post Office open for business in Johnsville
By RANDA WAGNER –
Marvin’s Village Post Office in Johnsville is now also a Village Post Office for the United Postal Service.
A crowd gathered April 20 to help owner Randolph Marvin and United States Postal service representatives make it official.
“We are excited!” Cincinnati District Manager Chu Falling-Star told Marvin. “This is our first Village Post Office in the State of Ohio, so you are making history!”
“What we’re calling a ‘village post office’ is a new concept,” explained David Van Allen, Communications Programs Specialist for the USPS in Cleveland. “The store owner is partnering with the postal service to provide postal service and products. It’s called a ‘village’ post office because it’s on a smaller scale: they offer flat-rate priority envelopes and parcels, have post office boxes, and sell stamps. It’s a fairly new concept they came up last spring and this is the first one in Ohio. There’s 15 in the nation right now.”
Most post offices are owned by the USPS, as was the post office that closed in Johnsville in October of 2010. A village post office is independently owned but provides selective postal services.
“That’s what this was developed for,” said Van Allen, “understanding that need. The village post offices are in locations or communities that have no existing post offices or lost their post office. It helps provide stability for the community, like this Shauck Village Post Office — that’s the name we created for it.”
Van Allen said getting village post offices in place is not going as quickly as the USPS hoped, but it’s moving along. The USPS also have other retail-type partnerships, such as a ‘contract’ postal units like those consumers see in larger grocery stores. Those are almost full-service post offices. Village post office are notequipped to weigh random packages for shipping like the contract postal units are.
Store Owner Marvin said he has had his store in Johnsville since 1993 and applied to provide postal services after the closing of the Shauck Post Office next door. He received his verification a couple of weeks ago.
“As we continue to see the mail volume drop off, and folks are using electronic communications, this is the type of partnership we want to build,” said Falling Star, “to provide the customer a one-stop shop. Not only can they pick up things they need, but also perform quite a few of their postal transactions with their local store.”
Post offices around the nation are being closed, noted Falling Star, in part because of a 43 billion-piece drop off within the five years.
“We have to make some tough decisions in some communities,” she acknowledged. “But here we are today, opening a village post office because we recognize the need of the community and most importantly, we want to form a partnership with the local business owner to provide a convenience for our customers.”
The postal service started their Flat Rate Priority Mailings about two years ago. If it fits, it ships – one price — no matter where you send it.
“The flat rate campaign has been ongoing for a few years now,” said Kathie Sherred, USPS Operations Manager for this area of Ohio. What used to be a special promotion before and after the holidays is now a regular program, she said.
“I think as we continue to see the changes in consumer behavior, this is the type of community partnership we need,” Falling Star said. “We hope to look for others where they are needed.”