Village post office opens on Sharpsburg Pike

March 22, 2013|By DON AINES |
  • Cutting the cake for the new May's Service Center Village Post Office in Fairplay Friday morning are left to right Todd May, his wife Donna May, and brother Kevin May.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

FAIRPLAY, Md. — At a time when the U.S. Postal Service is recommending cutting Saturday service, it is actually adding outlets for customers in the form of village post offices such as the one at May’s Service Center at 8708 Sharpsburg Pike, where a grand opening ceremony was held Friday.

May’s Service Center is the 200th village post office to open since the USPS introduced the idea in 2011.

“As our financial situation at the Postal Service has changed, it has become more and more important for us to find ways to be relevant in the communities we serve, and not just have our own brick-and-mortar solution,” said David Fields, the vice president of the service’s Capitol Metro Area.

In the case of businesses such as May’s, the owners and employees are trained to provide many of the services of a regular post office, without the USPS having to station an employee there, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is increase access and provide more offerings in rural America,” Fields said.

The range of services provided at May’s will include the sale of stamps, Priority Mail products, accepting mail, and a mail collection box, a press release from the postal service stated.

The first village post office opened in August 2011 in Malone, Wash., the release said.

Owners Todd and Kevin May were approached by the postal service to become a VPO, Todd May said. The new service they are offering will likely increase the number of customers coming through the door, “and that’s always a good thing,” he said.

People have been getting gas and groceries at May’s for a long time, Todd May said. Their father and uncle bought the business in 1961, but Kevin said a business has been operating at the corner of Sharpsburg Pike and Lappans Road since before World War II.

The postal service has been losing billions of dollars a year, largely due to federal legislation requiring it to pre-fund its pension plan and health insurance for decades into the future, Fields said.

The postmaster general has recommended ending the delivery of first-class mail and periodicals on Saturdays “to make us financially viable into the future,” Fields said.

“We would intend to continue to deliver packages, medication, and to provide retail access to anywhere we are open on Saturdays,” Fields said.

The postal service also wants legislation that would provide it some relief on the pension and health care funding, Fields said.

The pension system is over-funded by billions of dollars, although there is disagreement over how much, Fields said. Congress could also provide relief from the current health insurance requirements it operates under, he said.

Given more flexibility, the postal service could provide health insurance more economically and with better coverage, he said.

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