Two new village post offices set up in Victoria businesses
Oct. 19, 2013 at 5:19 a.m.
Updated Oct. 20, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.
The scene inside Daydream Creations was typical for a Thursday afternoon.
Manager Cindy Boone manned the gift shop, straightening displays, answering phones and sneaking to the back for bites of lunch, all the while awaiting customers. But a slip of paper taped next to the cash register - her cheat sheet, she joked - was there if needed.
"Does this mail contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous?" it asked.
Daydream Creations is one of two Victoria businesses now playing home to United States Postal Service Village Post Offices.
As part of the program - there are 400 village offices nationwide - the businesses offer priority mail services, mail pre-paid packages, sell stamps and also collect mail via outdoor mailboxes, said Sam Bolen, a Postal Service spokesman.
Bolen said the Postal Service is also exploring the possibility of opening contract post office operations on Rio Grande Street and Navarro Street. Those locations would provide basically all services available at full post offices.
Daydream Creations got the ball rolling to offer the village location after receiving a notice in the mail, Boone said. She spoke with the marketing manager, and from there, it went pretty quickly.
The business rolled out its postal services Oct. 2, she said, and so far, the response has been positive. Already, she's had people who say they'll go in monthly for stamps, she said, and it draws more foot traffic to the shop.
"Especially with the holidays coming up and our one-year anniversary in November, we hope to get people in here," she said.
Sherita Miller owns Redbird Books, where Victoria's second village post office opened Oct. 9. Like Boone, she said she viewed the effort as a way to draw new customers in.
"Even if they're just coming in to buy stamps and drop off packages, they're seeing how large the store is," she explained. "They might not even be readers, but they might tell someone else. I just don't see there being a negative for us."
The biggest issue so far, she said, is educating people about what her shop can and can't offer.
"It's so new to everybody that people don't understand what we do," she explained. "Packages should already be stamped when they come in, but we do have postage if they want to mail something in a Priority box."
Miller's shop makes shipments daily through Amazon, she said, and she said she hopes to extend her mail offerings down the road.
Victoria resident Jessica Walsworth used to do her mailing business inside a boutique near her apartment, she said, and was saddened when the business closed a year or so back. She said she prefers working with smaller, locally owned businesses because it's easier.
"The big post office on Main Street is extremely hard to get in and out of," she explained. "I think opening these up will be much more convenient."
Greg Valenzuela, who is moving from Alice to Victoria to work as a truck driver, agreed. Although he doesn't use the post office too often, he said, and many people do their business online - he said he'd like to see the services available in more places.
It cuts down on trips.
"You don't have to run around from place to place," Valenzuela noted. "You have everything you need right there."
As for Boone, she said she looks forward to the months to come and to seeing her postal niche take hold. The new addition was a bit intimidating at first, she admitted, but she's getting the hang of it.
"I just need to remember to ask if there's anything breakable or liquid, anything like that they're trying to mail," she said. "But that's why I have my sheet. It reminds me."