The U.S. Postal Service has announced cuts in counter service hours in Los Olivos, Avila Beach and Summerland offices.
They will take effect July 15th.
Postmaster Lori Oakley in Los Olivos was told this week, and has posted an advisory in her window.
The hours at her Grand Ave. site are now are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hours will be changed to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no counter service on weekends.
“It’s going to impact the community,” said resident Christopher Brady who enjoys the staff at the counter and seeing his neighbors inside.
Some residents are very upset. They say the small post office is close and convenient for ranchers, wineries, schools, and residents. Without a full operational schedule, they would have to drive about 10-15 minutes to the next closest branch.
It’s also the center of town for most residents who say it’s a place to share stories and see their neighbors.
The Postmaster Lori Oakley says she has personally gone out and tried to meet residents and business owners to encourage them to use the post office as much as possible.
“I work hard at trying to make a revenue for the post office at this office. I have gone on a personal mission to make sure my box section is maxed out. We’re almost at the point of having a waiting list. That’s exciting. That’s revenue for the post office,” said Oakley.
Janeen Chester has set up a table and is encouraging residents to sign a petition to save the small post office. The reaction has been very vocal. She said, “One gentleman was saying ‘You have to save this. This is ours. We need it.'”
Residents know the post office is struggling financially but they don’t understand this decision.
“I do mail a lot of things here. I use the post office more than I use UPS or FedEx,” said resident Marcy Ross. “If they close the doors I am down at UPS or FedEx.”
“These people are passionate about this town and they are passionate about their post office,” said Oakley.
The hope to have their petition in front of postal officials next week.
In an effort to bring in new revenue the postal service recently raised the price on a first-class stamp to 46 cents. Officials say, however, the cut in service hours, an increase in stamp fees, and a reduction in staff size is still not enough of a savings to correct the off balance budget.