For Lenora Perryman, a trip to the post office in Hartsfield means a chance to catch up on both on the mail and friends she meets there.
But with the U.S. Postal Service studying whether to close smaller post offices, that frequent ritual could become a thing of the past.
Hartsifield is on a study list of 45 Georgia post offices being considered by the agency for closure. Nationwide the list includes 3,700 post offices. Most are small towns like Hartsfield, which has a total of 96 post office boxes, 62 of which are rented.
The post office also has one rural route serving 437 customers, with one main carrier and a substitute.
Perryman, who moved to Hartsfield from Funston in 1960, said she likes the convenience of the facility, where she has a post office box.
“I’ve had the same PO box all that time,” she said. “I can pick up my packages here, I can meet my friends here. It (closing) has been a rumor for quite some time.”
If it does close, Perryman said she can get a mailbox at her house, but will not have a place to drop off and pick up packages unless she drives to Doerun.
“I don’t want to give it up,” she said.
Bonnie Salter, the officer in charge in Hartsfield for the past year and a half, said she has not been told of the agency’s plans for the post office and only hears what is in the news. She referred a reporter to Postal Service spokesman Stephen Seewoester.
In an email, Seewoester said that the agency will conduct a study over the next several months. There is no date set to announce the decision.
“Determining how we will handle PO boxes and customer services will be part of the study,” he said in the email. “Community meetings will be held in these communities to give customers a chance to comment on our plans before the study is completed. Those meetings have not yet been scheduled.”
Amber Freeman, who works in a store in the nearby Bay Community, said closing Hartsfield’s post office would be a loss for the area.
“It’s useful to the community around here,” she said. “If I have something to ship, I take it there and ship it.”