Bob Dickens of Courtland walks into the post office there on Wednesday. Residents have started a petition to keep the Courtland post office open after hearing rumors that it could be one of 2,000 across the nation to close. -- Stephen Cowles | Tidewater News

Archived Story

Courtland post office may be closing

Published 8:49am Friday, February 4, 2011



COURTLAND—Courtland-area resident Joyce Plyler spent Wednesday calling her congressmen.

Rumors that the post office in Courtland could be closing prompted those calls to U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both D-Va.

While Plyler waits for responses, she and others have started a petition drive in hopes of preventing the post office’s possible closing. Residents can sign the petition at Duck Thru on Main Street, formerly Bill’s Hometown Grill.

Plyler said she heard the rumor from her mail carrier.

“She’s concerned. I had a conversation with her,” Plyler said. “Also, my daughter-in-law works for the county, and it’s been going around the county administration office too.”

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson said he hadn’t heard anything until Wednesday.

“It came from our county treasurer,” Johnson said.

Fran Sanfone, communications coordinator for the Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore post offices, said she has heard nothing about the Courtland branch closing.

In January, the postmaster general announced that 2,000 post offices would be closed or services reduced or consolidated with larger facilities. But the list has not been released. The end of March might be the soonest for any announcement.

“I don’t see that happening,” said Sanfone about closing the Courtland post office. “It behooves us to deal with satellite offices because of the fact that there’s no delivery out of the satellite office.”

“Rural carriers are like a post office on wheels,” she continued.

Unlike city postal carriers, they can sell stamps and mail packages.

She said she understood that it can be “agonizing for customers” worried about their local post office.

Rick Francis, clerk of the Circuit Court for Southampton County and Franklin, said he called Forbes’ office after hearing the rumor.

“I spoke with (senior district representative) Rick Franklin to see if there is something upstream proposing that,” Francis said.

He said the closing would be “traumatic to this office.”

“We have to send mail with confirmations, and running to Franklin to pick up the daily mail would take another half-hour out of somebody’s day,” he said. “I cannot imagine closing the post office in the county seat.”

Courtland Vice Mayor George Kitchen Jr. said he had not heard about the possibility of the post office closing.

“That would be total news to me,” Kitchen said.

He doesn’t favor it.

“I think we need a post office in Courtland,” Kitchen said. “I think it’s vital to our community of 1,200.”

Plyler, who lives on Medicine Sprigs Road, assumes she would have to travel to Franklin for postal needs if the Courtland office closes.

“A lot of seniors live in this area,” she said. “It would be very troublesome.”

“What gets me, it seems to me it would take more gas for someone (from another post office) to deliver mail here,” Plyler added. “What’s the point? Plus it would mean jobs lost. You wouldn’t think they would close Courtland being the county seat. We have the sheriff’s department and the court system.”

  • concernedcitizen

    @shadow03 I have mailed several items to courtland over the last couple of years and they never make it. i have family in courtland and they are constantly getting other peoples mail and never getting thier own mail. The employees at the courtland PO are rude and more concerned with gossiping they are never at the window. I sound like I am bashing them but this PO is terrible and has been for years. It really needs to go because the people that rely on getting thier mail use every other means of sending packages and mail to make sure it actually gets there. A family member ordered a christmas present and it was shipped via USPS first class mail to courtland. It has never shown up….someone either delivered it to wrong place and they kept it or someone at the PO really wanted it…it is terrible over there

    Suggest Removal

  • Makalani

    I owe the USPS an apology. They do get it!

    It proposed to the US Postal Comm. last year to cut out Saturday delivery. The Commission hasn’t made a ruling yet. Why? Probably politics — unions and as someone said “the gubment!” Common sense may be in short supply in all three of those arenas.

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  • shadow03

    I agree concernedcitizen.
    For three days in a row I kept getting my neighbor’s mail. I kept writing “Not at this address” but I kept getting her mail and this has definitely not been the first time I have gotten other people’s mail. This happens pretty frequently. It makes me wonder how much of my mail other people have gotten. My daughter was supposed to receive a birthday card and a check for her birthday from her grandmother; however, we never received it. So her grandmother had to place a stop payment on the check because it is out there somewhere, probably at a neighbor’s house.
    Customer service at the Courtland PO is not all that great. I have been in there several times to get stamps and there is one lady in there who acts like it is such an inconvenience to stop and wait on me. I can’t say about Franklin because I never use their PO.

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  • cpassut

    There were similar rumors, which later proved unfounded, that the post office in Branchville would be closed. Not saying that the rumor isn’t true, but it is just a rumor at this point. Would be very sad and surprising for the post office in a county seat to be closed.

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  • FromHere

    Don’t forget you’re dealing with the Federal government here. Idiots.

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  • wiskeymike

    isnt the post office paying rent on the building ,that most likley would be the issue.

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    What a shame! A HUGE SHAME. I had the GREAT fortune of visiting this post office when the Franklin PO was “flooded out”… nothing but GREAT… GREAT customer service and friendly smiles. They should close the Franklin PO and let Courtland live. I’d drive the extra distance to know that the HORRIBLE Postmaster in Franklin and her crew were unemployed and the polite, intelligent customer service in Courtland were alive and well. I’d like to see the business model for small town delivery 4-5 days/week visited as well. There is ALWAYS room for revamping… but to keep Freaklin open in place of Courtland? Talk about things not going anywhere… these guys close at LUNCHTIME!

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  • Paige

    It’s a sad day when our beloved small towns have to worry about losing their post office!

    “….small towns continue to represent all that America was founded on. Family and traditional values, neighborly people, the importance of courtesy, strong community ties, and the feeling of “being home” are part of what makes small town living so important and attractive to people in today’s world.” (In Search of Mayberry” by Scott Dickson)

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  • FromHere

    Closing the post office in the county seat?

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  • Makalani

    Closing this PO would be a huge inconvenience to many people. Instead of closing POs — maybe the USPS needs to revamp its bizness model of going to EVERY home & business that has mail 6 days a week. It could save $billions with 4-5 day delivery. I think many PO customers would gladly accept that to keep POs open.

    Email — electronic bill-pay — smart phones and other technology has changed how we communicate/do bizness. PO honchos think that working harder — instead of smarter — continuing to raise prices and closing POs will keep an an obsolete bizness model afloat.

    The PO honchos haven’t figured out that wracking up billions of miles while burning billions of gals of gas with 6 day mail delivery is as obsolete as the Pony Express.

    I guess when they get down to 100 POs still open — stamps costing $5 each and they are still losing money — they will figure it out! LOL

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  • concernedcitizen

    reliability from the courtland post office is poor. it is a gamble whenever you send something via usps to courtland. They may or may not get it. who knows where it goes?

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