The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday it will study whether to close 3,700 retail offices—including the Village Center Station at 566 Allen Road in The Hills—among its nearly 32,000 post offices nationwide.
No decision has been made on closing any of the post offices to be considered. But Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in Tuesday's news release, "the Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value."
Bernards Township now has three post offices. The Village Center Station and the Basking Ridge post office at 21 Brownlee in downtown Basking Ridge both have a zip code of 07920.
Another post office is located at 8 Church St. in Liberty Corner, with a zip code of 07938.
As more customers choose to conduct their postal business online, on their smart phones and at their favorite shopping destinations, the need for the U.S. Postal Service to maintain all of its retail offices—the largest retail network in the country—diminishes, according to the release from the Postmaster General.
To that end, the postal service will be conducting studies of customer needs at the targeted post offices.
As part of this effort, the Postal Service also introduced a retail-replacement option for affected communities around the nation.
"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.
He added, "Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”
For communities currently without a postal retail office and for communities affected by these retail optimization efforts, the Postal Service said a new Village Post Office could be a potential replacement option. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.
“By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.”