Talk of the U.S. Postal Service potentially making plans to sell its downtown Puyallup location has many residents and business owners riled up.
"I can’t believe it could be closing," said Adrianne Hankinson, who co-owns Caffe Sorelle on West Meeker. "I think it’s horrible."
The coffee and sandwich shop receives a lot of customers who stop along their way to the post office.Rumors have floated around from postal carriers to residents that the process to begin selling the property would begin in July.
Ernie Swanson, the spokesman for the Seattle District Office of the U.S. Postal Service, vehemently denies and squashes any rumors.
"The building has not been sold and it’s not on the market," he said.
Swanson’s denial, however, doesn’t quell the outspokenness of so many residents and business owners in the area.
Shelley Schlumpf, the executive director of the Puyallup and Sumner Chamber of Commerce, said the likely closure of the post office would pose a huge loss to Puyallup’s downtown core.
"I can’t fathom not having a post office in the downtown," she said. "As a chamber, we use (the post office) a lot."
Resident Pat McGregor said he is disappointed the post office might be closing.
"I have used the post office several times, often just walking there to drop something on my way to Forza, the park or breakfast," he said. "I suspect it is like that for many people. Now, instead of putting some shopping dollars in downtown, they go elsewhere because the mail or package has to be dropped elsewhere."
For some business owners in the downtown, the likelihood of a closure could impact their livelihood.
"It will kill my business," said Dick Messinger, owner of Comic Evolution on South Meridian.
Messinger said that 75 percent of his revenue is derived from online sales through Amazon and Ebay. He walks daily to the post office and delivers between 30 to 40 packages to his Amazon and Ebay customers. Amazon requires that Messinger use the Postal Service.
If the post office were to close, Messinger said it would add an additional two hours to his already 11-hour day to deliver packages to post offices in either Sumner or on South Hill. He said he would probably relocate his business.
Greg Webley, a trial attorney, is a co-owner at the Puyallup Law Center with business partner, Adam Birnbaum. Webley said his staff visits the post office, just a half block away, five days a week and two to three times a day.
"To have the post office close would be a huge hassle and money loss for us," he said.
Legal mailings that Webley’s office mails out have to, by state law, be certified by the Postal Service only. If the post office were to close, Webley said he’d have to pay an additional $400 to $500 per month for a staff person to visit the post office on South Hill. He would also have to change all the letterheads on his legal filings to read a new P.O. box address.
Arla Cuddie, the president of the Puyallup Main Street Association, said that in the face of adversity the city may need to look at relying on the private sector to provide services.
Carl Kilpatrick, owner of The UPS Store in the Fred Meyer Parking lot off River Road, said The UPS stores offer the same services as the Postal Service and much more, like 24-hour service and mail forwarding and holding.
"With the closure of the post office, people of the valley shouldn’t miss a beat," he said.
Andrew Fickes: 253-841-2481, Ext. email@example.com