Downtown Yankton Post Office Customers Brace For Change

This sign hanging in the downtown Yankton post office notifies customers of its upcoming closure. (Kelly Hertz/P&D)

With the downtown Yankton post office set to close Jan. 21, those who use the facility are bracing for the change it will have on their routines.

For some, it will be as simple as doing their business a few blocks away at a new contract postal unit (CPU). Others will have thousands of dollars in additional annual costs.

The latter is true for Yankton Media, Inc., which publishes the Yankton Press & Dakotan, The Missouri Valley Shopper and other area publications. The company is one of the largest United States Postal Service (USPS) customers in the community.

Although Yankton Media already had to make trips to the Fox Run Annex at 506 West 25th Street for some of its transactions with the USPS, owner Gary Wood said the post office closure will more than double the drives employees have to make across town. Things that could once be done at the post office next door to the Press & Dakotan along Walnut Street will no longer be possible.

The just more than two-mile trip from Yankton’s downtown to the Fox Run Annex can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes, depending on traffic. Those numbers may seem small at first glance but can add up during the course of a year.

“It will impact us negatively expense-wise because of personnel time, as well as fuel expenses and maintenance costs associated with making more trips to deliver publications and paperwork,” Wood said. “It’s going to add up to a substantial dollar amount.”

Retail hours at Fox Run will be from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

Retail services for post office customers are also available at Boller Printing, 308 Douglas Avenue, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon on             Saturdays.

A Hy-Vee  location at 2100 Broadway Avenue operates from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The last collection time at both CPUs is 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, the last collection is 11:45 a.m. at Boller Printing and 3 p.m. at Hy-Vee.

The collection boxes located in the alley behind the downtown post office will remain in service. However, the last collection time will be changed to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Businesses and patrons in the downtown area currently accustomed to being able to drop off mail at the end of the business day for immediate transportation will now have to make a trip to the north annex for the same service.

“When we leave at 5, we usually drop the mail off,” said Jennifer Adamson of the Yankton Contact Center. “Now, it won’t go out (unless we drive to the annex).”

Because of the short window that often exists between when the Contact Center’s clients receive Social Security payments and when their bills are due, Adamson said there are days when a trip will have to be made after 3 p.m. to the post office, drawing on time and expenses.

While the post office’s departure from the downtown area will pose some challenges, Carmen Schramm of the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce said she has heard from people who are relieved that Boller Printing is contracting with the USPS to provide service to the downtown.

“We are happy to see a Chamber member take this on and provide a service and convenience to others downtown,” she said.

Kristy Wyland, who co-owns Boller Printing with her sister, Kathy Church, said postal business has been picking up since it became available at the location in November. However, she doesn’t expect to see the full impact until the downtown post office closes.

People have voiced concern about a 3 p.m. pickup time during weekdays, but Wyland said there is nothing Boller Printing can do about it.

“That is set by the post office,” she said. “But as long as their mail is here by 3, we’ll make sure it gets out.”

 Wyland said they aim to be very service-oriented.

“One of the businesses that came here had a whole bunch of smaller envelopes with merchandise,” she stated. “They dropped them off, and we stamped them and got them ready to go. We then called them and told them the postage so they could drop a check off. That’s an option here. You don’t have to stand around and wait.”

Another benefit Boller Printing likes to tout: It’s easier to enter the building than the downtown post office.

“There are no steps,” Wyland said. “We’re here and ready to serve people.”

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