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Postal Service considers closing Beldenville office

Postmaster Relief at the Beldenville Post Office, Belinda Hopp, confirms what the Postal Service said in a press release dated July 26: It is considering closure for the 153-year-old facility.

The news release says as the online postal trend grows, the need diminishes for the USPS to maintain its 32,000 "retail" offices. "To that end," says the release, "the U.S. Postal Service announced today that it will be taking the next step in right-sizing its expansive retail network by conducting studies of approximately 3,700 retail offices to determine customer needs."

Hopp said she was called to a mandatory conference call on Wednesday, July 27, where postal employees received the news. The Beldenville location, along with one in Eau Galle, are both being "studied" in the effort.

She said according to what she learned, the soonest USPS could make a decision about whether to close or remain open would be 138 days.

USPS highlights in its press release a retail-replacement option it is introducing to aid communities affected by potential future closings. It is called the Village Post Office, which involves making mail services available through local businesses such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers.

Hopp commented that the concept reaches back to the Beldenville office's roots; it started in a country mercantile store.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said, "Today more than 35% 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, open 24/7. Our customers' habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business."

Read more details about this story in the Aug. 4 print editions of the River Falls Journal or the Pierce County Herald.