Small businesses around the country are anxiously waiting to see if the U.S. Postal Service closes some or all of 250 distribution centers and postal office beginning in mid May.
The Postal Service has announced it will begin the cuts on May 15 as part of plans to get leaner and save money.
In places from Florida and Alabama to Tulsa, Okla., owners of small businesses are worried about how the consolidation plan will affect their companies.
In Pass-a-Grille, Fla., the town’s post office closed last summer. The beach community is a popular place for tourists and has a number of small companies on 8th Avenue in town. But the nearest town with a post office is at least four mile away.
Business owners found that the nearest post office seems to always have long lines. “I’ve had to wait in line for 30 minutes,” said Barbara Calicotte, who works at Bamboozle, a boutique in Pass-a-Grille.
Heather Preston is the main sales lady and also other duties at the jewelry store she manages for her father. When she has to go to the post office, Preston said she has to find someone to watch her business. But a stand-in can’t sell some of the store’s unique jewelry while Preston is at the crowded post office.
“I may possibly los a sale because of it,” she said.
In Tulsa, Okla., the situation is the same. Forrester Cameron is CEO and publisher of the Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, which prints and sends out nearly 38,000 papers a month to people around the Tulsa metropolitan area. Without the town’s local postal distribution center, Cameron said it’s possible customers who get their newspaper in the mail will be reading old news.
He’s already heard that Tulsa mail would first go to Oklahoma City to be sorted before being returned to Tulsa to end up in local mailboxes, according to Postal Service officials. That’s the plan if Tulsa loses its postal distribution center and it could mean a Tuesday paper wouldn’t arrive to Tulsa resident until Thursday or Friday.
“It doesn’t make sense,” said Cameron. “Why is my mail going to a rival city only to then come back?”