SEQUIM — If a package, newspaper, utility bill or love letter is on its way, Rob Garfinkle wants you to get your mail on time.
As the new postmaster of the Sequim Post Office at 240 S. Sunnyside Ave., Garfinkle, 54, brings 30 years experience with the United States Post Office.
“I love what I do,” Garfinkle said. “The people here have been great here. This is a great team and I’m glad to be part of it.”
In Sequim, Garfinkle oversees 13,000 mailbox deliveries and 2,000 post office box deliveries six days a week in the Sequim-Dungeness area, with some carriers traveling about 60 miles, he said.
Sundays include Amazon-exclusive deliveries from seven carriers.
Garfinkle said he expects mail deliveries to increase all days of the week as the holiday season approaches.
“Mail is important to folks,” Garfinkle said. “Mail [may] be the only engagement people have with the federal government.”
Since coming to Sequim, Garfinkle said he’s contracted with a local, retired mobile mechanic who can repair postal vehicles in the field if needed, and return the vehicles to service quickly.
Some of Garfinkle’s next short- and long-term goals include hiring six replacement drivers and two seasonal drivers with flexible hours, and looking into repairing the front parking lot of the post office.
Garfinkle said he didn’t want to pursue his family’s jewelry repair business, so he considered law enforcement until a mail carrier suggested a career with the U.S. Postal Service.
Garfinkle said it had a similar path as law enforcement and career options he was looking for: steady work, good benefits, long-term goals and an opportunity to move up.
He started as a carrier in Chatsworth, Calif., near where he grew up, and entered a management program about 18 months later.
Garfinkle said he specializes in city deliveries and mapping safer, faster carrier routes.
For about 10 years he served as postmaster in Tarzana, Calif., his position prior to Sequim.
One of his accomplishments there, he said, was learning American Sign Language (ASL) to better communicate with two deaf coworkers.
With help from his daughter, videos, books and signing with his employees, he learned ASL.
In Sequim, he’s spoken with one deaf customer so far.
“She was surprised,” he said.
Garfinkle said Sequim feels like a good home for him and his wife Tracie, an online teacher; the couple bought a home in Carlsborg.
They are particularly happy that they have a lawn after years of drought conditions in California, he said, and they don’t experience consistent triple-digit weather anymore.
The couple felt a change of scenery would be good for them too now that they are “empty-nesters” after their 18-year-old son left for college. Both of their children go to college in Michigan, Garfinkle said.
He’s been surprised to daily encounter avid stamp collectors requesting the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s annual cancellation stamp/envelope.
With the U.S. Postal Service offering an array of services, Garfinkle said Sequim’s parcel business and advertising mail business continues to grow.
Contact the Sequim Post Office, 240 S. Sunnyside Ave., Sequim, at 360-681-7833.
To see open positions at the post office, visit www.USPS.gov.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].