While that may not seem like news, the Richfield branch was included in a 2009 USPS list as one of more than 20 Minnesota post offices which would be put under “full study” and considered for closure or significant overhaul.
The latest announcement came July 26 as USPS unveiled plans to optimize its retail operations. USPS is looking to save roughly $200 million with the closures after running a budget deficit of approxamately $8 billion last year.
“We were looking at combining [the Richfield Post Office] with a couple of other delivery units and combining retail operations,” said Pete Nowacki, district media contact for the USPS, in reference to the 2009 list. “The [postal] carriers in Richfield would have gone to another postal facility and our current retail unit [in Richfield] would have maybe moved.”
Nowacki stressed that plans for the Richfield Post Office didn’t ever get very far.
“It never got further than talk,” he said.
Nowacki said the 2009 study survey is outdated, and that the list released on July 26 was a more accurate list of post offices the USPS is considering closing.
Doreen Hintz, branch manager for the Richfield Post Office since 2008, said that, since taking over in her current role, she hadn’t heard a word about the possibility of the Richfield branch closing or moving.
“Information rolls downhill around here,” Hintz said. “I haven’t heard anything, but I’m not in the loop.”
While branch managers are not authorized to give out specific employee information, Hintz said that more than 30 people were employed at the Richfield Post Office. Because any plans for closing or moving the Richfield Post Office didn’t get very far with USPS management, it remains unclear what, if anything, would happen to workers at the Richfield branch ever did close.
The postal service will continue to look at cost-cutting measures as a result of changes in consumer behavior which include expanded use of electronic mail and other electronic communication; also affecting its bottom line is increased competition from FedEx, UPS and other shipping services.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe stressed that, in a changing world, the Postal Service must change alongside its customers.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the postal service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” Donahoe said in a press release. “Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”
Approximately 90 post offices in Minnesota will be studied for closure, according to the recent list. Most of them are located in more rural areas around the state.