Downtown post office cutting window hours

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

Vicksburg businessmen Joe Canizaro, left, and D.P. Waring talk outside the window at the downtown post office this morning. Both men complained about the post office’s announcement that it would cut window hours beginning Oct. 2. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Postmaster Herman Mannery said there’s not enough revenue, so downtown post office windows will start opening later and closing earlier on weekdays.

Downtown post office customers want to know how the postmaster expects to gain revenue with the windows closed.

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The U.S. Post Office in the federal building on Crawford Street was more or less replaced in 1992 with the opening of the new main office on Pemberton Boulevard.

Although patrons who have post office boxes can retrieve mail at anytime, window hours for buying postage, sending parcels and other transactions have steadily been reduced downtown.

Starting Oct. 2, the windows will open at 9 a.m. and close at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, which cuts two and a half hours off operating time each day. Hours have been 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Over the past year we have seen about a 10 percent decline in our revenue,” Mannery said. “It has really dwindled out.”

But Joe Canizaro, owner of Canizaro Jewelers in the Washington Street mall, said the effect on his business will be devastating.

“They might as well close downtown,” he said. “With this type of deal going on, it is going to kill us.”

Canizaro added that the ornate lobby serves a social purpose, too. “It is a good chance to see people you know and catch up,” he said.

For Main Street Director Rosalie Theobald, the announcement also brought dismay. “We are trying to promote downtown to get businesses to come in, and the post office changing its hours is going to hamper that,” she said.

Mannery said if business increases, changes will be made. “If the revenue picks back up, we can always restore our hours,” he said.

D.P. Waring, who operates Waring Oil on the Vicksburg Harbor, said it seems to him many people use the downtown branch.

“If we have to start going all the way out to Pemberton it is going to be a real inconvenience,” he said. Pemberton and Halls Ferry is the city’s most congested intersection and a round trip from downtown can take 30 or more minutes.

The Pemberton windows are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The Crawford Street branch’s windows are not open on Saturdays.

Mayor Robert Walker, whose City Hall office is next door to the downtown branch, said attracting more business is the answer.

“I think it will affect people downtown, but they can offset the potential loss with marketing efforts to attract more business,” he said.

Theobald said she thinks Vicksburg merits two post offices open for regular business hours. “I think in this town we have a need for two offices to be open regular hours,” Theobald said. “Every time I go downtown there are long lines.”