Frustrated customers denied access to mail after Richmond post office closes abruptly

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — People who live in Church Hill are frustrated over the abrupt closure of their post office.

“Without any warning, it’s kind of depressing,” said Lewis Robinson, who showed up Monday morning to get mail from his post office box.

So did John Rasmussen. “I have mail probably including checks for my home business in my PO box that I can’t get to which is personally frustrating,” he said.

A sign on the door of the 25th street location told customers the post office is closed temporarily because of emergencies.

Some people in the area learned about the closure on Friday. That’s when a letter showed up in their mailboxes that advised residents the East End Post Office was suspending service because of several safety issues but it didn’t elaborate on the nature of those problems.

That same letter told people with post office boxes they would be able to get their mail from a Postal Mobile Unit parked out front, but that unit never showed up.

“It’s kind of unsettling, because I run a business here in town,” said Rachael Newmister. “It’s a nonprofit and a lot of our money is through the donors that we have. It’s kind of important that we are able to access.”

Customers are being told to pick up their mail at the Montrose Heights post office which is more than four miles away in Henrico County.

8News reached out to the postal service for an explanation about why the post office is closed and when or if it will reopen and received the following statement:

The Postal Service would like to apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as we began the transfer of mail required for our temporary retail operations from East End Post Office.  Please assure your viewers that all mail remained secure with the Postal Service and is now available for our impacted customers.  Again, we apologize.

For now, customers with PO Boxes at the East End Post Office can pick up their mail at  Montrose Heights Post Office located at 5300 Klockner Road. Those hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Customers are required to show a photo ID to receive their mail.  There is a 24-hour lobby access for customer convenience.

While we do not have a timetable for a return to the East End location, the Postal Service is placing a Retail Mobile Unit on site for our customers on Tuesday, April 11. The Retail Mobile Unit will provide our customers with retail service such as purchasing stamps and products.

This temporary closing or the placement of a mobile unit does not impact delivery of mail to street addresses in the community.

Congressman A. Donald McEachin also addressed the post office’s abrupt closure. McEachin said he wrote the following letter to the Postmaster General:

“For over 40 years the East End post office has served as a critical juncture for the economic and postal needs of the local community. I have serious concerns with how this closure will negatively impact my constituents, in particular the elderly and less fortunate. In light of these concerns, I am asking that you restore access to a permanent postal location in the immediate area as quickly as safely possible.”

McEachin said he has also reached out to postal agency personnel responsible for the region, as well as elected officials who represent the area to ask them to write to the Postmaster General and join him in the effort to keep the post office open.

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