DOE RUN — Nearly seven months to the day since a propane leak leveled the Doe Run Post Office, postal patrons will once again be able to pick up their mail without having to leave the village.
Starting Nov. 22 the United State Postal Service will deliver and pick up mail from a bank of postal boxes inside Sherry’s Quick Mart located at 3229 State Route 221. Patrons who once had a box in the local post office, and have since been picking up mail at the Farmington post office, will retain their same box number and mailing address.
Word of the postal boxes finally returning to Doe Run came in the form of a note left in Doe Run postal patrons’ post office boxes earlier this month. David Fishbeck, owner of Sherry’s Quick Mart, had said several weeks ago that his business had signed a contract with the mail service.
Fishbeck has remodeled an office space in his business to accommodate the postal boxes. Approximately two months ago a curbside drop box was added in front of the store. Additionally, employees of Sherry’s have been trained to sell USPS stamps and flat rate boxes.
Clerks at the convenience store will not handle mail, either incoming or outgoing. Incoming mail will be delivered by a mail carrier who will put the mail in the boxes. A few larger boxes will be added to handle larger packages. If a patron receives a package too large for their box it will be placed in one of the larger containers with a note and access key left inside their regular box. They can retrieve the package and leave the key for the mail carrier to retrieve the following day.
One service that will not be available will be weighing and rating of packages. Patrons will need to drive to Farmington or another post office to get those services.
But one positive change will be the hours that mail will be available. At the former Post Office the lobby was open only during daytime hours, with the counter open only during traditional business hours and closed for lunch. The post office boxes at Sherry’s will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the USPS and Fishbeck.
The sign denoting a “Village Post Office” should be delivered to Sherry’s on Monday. Fishbeck said he would have the sign installed on the front of the building as soon as it arrives. Mail will be delivered the first time on Tuesday.
The former Doe Run Post Office was destroyed during the early morning hours of April 23. Federal investigators later determined the building exploded as the result of a propane leak from a service line feeding the building’s gas appliances.
It was suspected the blast was triggered by a lightning strike. A severe thunderstorm was moving through the area at the time. Several members of the Doe Run Fire Department were only about two blocks away when the explosion happened, having just returned from a water rescue call resulting from flash flooding associated with the same storm.
The return to village post offices located inside stores and other established businesses is a move being seen across the nation as the USPS attempts to curb costs. Of course, the idea of picking up mail at the local general store is not new. Such scenes were common in small communities throughout the late 1700s, 1800s and early 1900s, and have even continued to modern times in some rural areas.