Thursday, November 17, 2011

Glenn Post Office celebration

Greg Chanski cuts the ribbon a second time to dedicate the new Glenn Village Post Office inside Gerstner Hardware. Vicki and Robert Amberg are standing in the door to the new facility.

You can joke about the U.S. Postal Service being late, but that wasn’t the case yesterday when postal officials helped dedicate the new Glenn Village Post Office.

The red ribbon was strung across the door to the small postal room in Gerstner Hardware, 6988 114th Ave., and Greg Chanski, manager of post office operations in Grand Rapids, gave a brief talk about the new facility then quickly swung around the hardware hedge clippers and snipped the fabric.

The stunned crowd didn’t even have time to take pictures!

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Hardware store owners Vicki and Robert Amberg quickly made the repair, tying the ribbon in a knot and letting spectators — more than two dozen filled the hardware store — get a clear shot at photographs.

The ribbon, cake and coffee were all to celebrate that the small town of Glenn is the first place in Michigan — and the third in the nation — to get a village post office.

There are village post office sites in Washington state and Pennsylvania. Two other sites in Michigan are under consideration for the designation, said postal service spokeswoman Sabrina Todd.

In July, Glenn residents received a letter from the post office that the office on Blue Star Highway north of 114th Avenue would close due to a loss of lease on the property. People in the unincorporated town in Ganges Township rallied to save the office, saying the town would lose its identity and tourists if the post office and ZIP code were erased.

The Ambergs stepped in, offering their store as a postal site.

In fact, the post office was in the hardware store from 1948 to 1955, Amberg said. When she bought the store seven years ago, workers found a faded sign in a barn behind the building. The sign, which reads “Hardware Variety U.S. Post Office,” was affixed above the store’s entry long before the idea of a Village Post Office surfaced this year.

“I guess we’re coming back home,” said Chanski of the postal service.

The old post office sign is above the door.

The Glenn Village Post Office has boxes for mail delivery and pickup, stamps, flat rate priority shipping boxes and other supplies for sale. The site does not weigh packages.

Mail comes through the Fennville Post Office. New post office boxes and renewals are handled in Fennville as well. Hardware staff members cannot open boxes for people who forget their key.

The limited service sites are one way  the post office is saving money, officials said.

The Ambergs put the post office boxes in a side room and have a display of postal products. The post office is open the same hours as the hardware store:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

A handicapped-accessible ramp will be built, Vicki Amberg said.

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