Among the home improvement supplies offered at Deer Creek Supply on Cass Road, there is a new addition – a Village Post Office.
The VPO has a blue mail box as well as a green box for packages. It also has stamps and flat rate boxes and envelopes for sale.
Deer Creek Supply co-owner Virginia Fuller said the business wanted to offer the service to the community due to the loss of the Cass Post Office in 2011.
“We thought it would be a great convenience for the local people,” she said. “There isn’t one in Cass and it’s a distance away from Green Bank. It’s a nice location.”
Mill Creek Postmaster Rodney McAtee said the office is limited to what it can do, but it offers basic necessities to customers.
“They accept flat rate boxes and flat rate envelopes,” he said. “They have a new collection box so that people can drop their letters off.”
McAtee said the mail carrier for the area will check the boxes every day at 11 a.m.
The VPO will be open the same hours as Deer Creek Supply – Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In 2011, due to a loss in revenue, the United State Postal Service began “thinning the herd” by reducing the hours of or closing rural post offices.
“We asked Congress to close a bunch of small post offices and they wouldn’t let us, so most of life is Plan B, so we went to Plan B,” U.S. Postal Service Retail Specialist Kim Whittington said. “We gave the postmasters two years to find something else to do or we were going to begin to reduce the hours at those offices that we couldn’t close. At the same time, they had a program called the Village Post Office which allows the community to keep their zip code and their name.”
Whittington said the VPO program is perfect for rural areas because it allows small towns to keep their identity.
“It’s a nice program for that purpose, particularly out here in the rural area,” he said. “We’ve got fourteen of them now in our district, probably about six in West Virginia at this time.”
McAtee agreed with Whittington and added that it is also a positive move for local businesses which become VPOs.
“Some areas, if they don’t have a business that steps up, the post office is closed,” he said. “It’s great to have a small community business that steps up to help, like they’re doing.”
A public meeting regarding the future of the Green Bank Post Office will be held November 19 at 6 p.m. at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory education center.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@po cahontastimes.com