There’s been little formal notice to the public, but word of a plan to close the Fair Haven post office at 4p on weekdays is proving about as agreeable to local residents and business owners as the taste of envelope glue.
In the 60 minutes leading up to the end of the customary business day, there’s still work to be done, locals say.
“To me, it’s very upsetting,” says Dean Ross, owner of the Doc Shoppe. Though his shoe store is just two doors away from the postal facility in the Acme shopping center, he frequently needs to ship packages at the end of the day, he said.
He also feels the curtailment will force seniors and disabled residents with late-afternoon mailing needs to drive to Red Bank, where parking is difficult.
“If anything, they should be extending the hours,” he says of the postal service.
A notice taped to the front door of the facility says the change is take effect Tuesday, May 27.
Borough resident Jessica Kuras, stopping in at the post office yesterday, told redbankgreen she was unaware of the change and didn’t notice the message on the door.
Though she usually uses the facility earlier in the day, Kuras said she understands that others already under the gun to get there by 5p might face added stress.
“I can see why people would object,” she said.
Mayor Mike Halfacre says the town got no formal notice of the change; he learned about it when Ross told him about it a few weeks back at a meeting of the nascent Fair Haven business association.
Since then, says Halfacre, the borough has been unable to get an explanation of the change from the Red Bank postmaster, Leonard Oaks Jr. Fair Haven’s post office is a substation of Red Bank’s, and until about 20 years ago shared the 07701 zip code with Red Bank.
The town also wants assurance that the last mail pickup from the boxes out front will still be at 5:30p, he said
For businesses owners who count on getting shipments and mailings out at the end of the day, the early closing “makes it that much harder to make living,” Halfacre said.
On Monday, the same day that the cost of a first-class stamp rose a penny, to 42 cents, the borough council approved a resolution opposing the early closing. Halfacre sees the move in the context of Red Bank’s fruitless push to have the post office assume responsibility for providing parking spaces for its employees to keep their cars off residential streets.
“Talk about fighting a bureaucracy,” he says. “At a time when the post office should be waging a public relations battle to keep itself alive, it seems to be making missteps. They’re not doing anything to make any friends.”