LIHU‘E – The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it is expanding customer access to its products and services, with nearly 100,000 places available to buy stamps, ship a package or renew a passport.
It is not about brick-and-mortar post offices anymore, as Postal Service products move online and into retail outlets, grocery stores, office supply chains and pharmacies, a Postal Service news release said.
Hilo Hattie in Lihu‘e, for example, began offering postal package services, mailing and stamps in October of last year.
“We’re teaming up with hundreds of stores across the state so customers can do postal business at places where they already shop,” District Manager Daryl Ishizaki said. “These days, shoppers and shippers have more to do and less time to do it. We know simpler is better — online, on your mobile device, on your way, with an expertise that you can count on.”
Duke Gonzales, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, said there are no concrete plans to close any Kaua‘i Post Offices.
“We’re an organization having difficult times,” Gonzales said. “The trend is people are mailing less. We do review post offices and which ones make sense, even before the economy turned. But when the recession hit, it accelerated the discussions and how to handle it.”
Contracting postal services through retailers is an effective way to expand services without greatly expanding its bottom line.
Nearly 35 percent of the Postal Service retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as Costco, Office Depot, grocery stores, drug stores, APCs, ATMs and usps.com.
With Post Office hours usually ending by 5 p.m. or earlier, customers can send a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and buy Forever stamps as long as the alternate sites are open — often as late as 9 p.m., the release said. Some sites are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’re creating easier, more convenient access to products and services when and where our customers want them,” Ishizaki said. “We’re everywhere so you can be anywhere.”
Customers can find postal locations at www.uspseverywhere.com.