By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The Olympic Trading Post at 2123 W. Sims Way has begun selling stamps and postal supplies to customers who need to mail a package but don’t have easy access to the main post office in the historical Customs House building at 1322 Washington St.
“A lot of people don’t want to go downtown to mail letters,” said store co-owner Debi Goetz.
“We are bringing something to this neighborhood that was not here before.”
In addition, it offers people with disabilities an alternative.
The main post office in the 1893 Customs House has been recognized for Americans With Disabilities Act violations because of its steep stairs and other 19th-century features that hinder access.
The city of Port Townsend, Postal Service and Washington Trust for Historic Preservation are negotiating an agreement that is expected to result in protection of the landmark building as well as modernizing it to make it more accessible to the disabled.
The village post office concept is a new one, said Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson.
It provides convenience to customers but is not a full-service postal facility, he said.
While a village office can accept letters, it cannot weigh them to determine the proper postage, and it doesn’t write money orders or accept registered mail, Swanson said.
These functions are available through the post office’s contract facilities, which have a more robust product offering, he said.
The sole contract station in Port Townsend has been located in the Purple Heron gift shop, 1117 Water St., since August 2010.
The store is closing Friday, and the contract has been transferred to Sea Marine, 419 Jackson St. in the Point Hudson area.
Swanson said permission to move the facility to the new location had been granted by the post office.
Sea Marine owner Matt Elder said service at the new location will be available around the beginning of February.
This gives postal patrons three post offices to drop off mail in three different parts of town: southern, northern and central portions.
A fourth option comes from the UPS Store, 2023 E. Sims Way, which receives and weighs packages while providing a choice of delivery providers.
Goetz said that while she cannot weigh packages, customers can choose flat-rate options that mail items based on the size of box in which they fit.
She also hopes to convert her front porch into post office boxes, something that is not available at the contract station but is now an option at both the main post office and the UPS Store.
Goetz said she was approached by the post office about the venture, which she accepted because it will bring traffic into her store, which sells antiques and homemade doughnuts.
The Olympic Trading Post is accepting mail seven days a week: from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Mail is picked up at around 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility is planned for next week but is as yet unscheduled.
For more information, phone 360-774-6477.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.