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INDIAN LAND – One of the Panhandle’s two contract U.S. Postal Service post offices has closed.
The contract post office at Liberty Tax Service, 8441 Charlotte Highway (U.S. 521) near Doby’s Bridge Road, closed Aug. 16 after two and a half years.
Liberty Tax Services owner Lisa Walker said her decision earlier this month to close her Indian Land tax office earlier was hard, especially given that it also meant the end of much needed postal services in the community.
“We tried everything we could to stay open, up until the last day,” Walker said.
“The post office was, to me, for the community, and I really felt good about that being a service we could offer,” she said. “So knowing how much Indian Land needs the service made it a very hard decision to close the tax office.”
“Contract Postal Units” are small postal sites operated by business owners inside their businesses under a contract with the U.S. Postal Service.
While contract offices don’t offer post office boxes or mail delivery, they do offer a full range of other outbound postal services, from stamps to shipping and insurance that make them popular in communities without regular post offices such as Indian Land.
The Liberty Tax Service contract post office closing means Indian Land is left with only one other contract office, the MJ Mart at the intersection of Charlotte Highway and Fort Mill Highway (S.C. 160).
The UPS Store in the Carolina Commons shopping center near Harris Teeter offers many, if not most, U.S. Postal Office services, such as stamps and certified mail along with its UPS services.
“The only thing we do not offer is the flat rate boxes,” UPS store owner Jigar Desai said.
The closest full service post offices to Indian Land are located in Van Wyck, at 5222 Old Hickory Road, and Fort Mill at 201 Tom Hall St.
Walker said she tried to no avail to find another business owner in the area to apply to take over the contract post, though she’s still trying.
Walker said according to the post office contract office solicitation she responded to, the postal service is looking for a location south of Marvin Road.
She said among the first questions asked of her was “how close are you to Sun City Carolina Lakes?” Walker said another requirement the post office is looking for is a business that opens before 9 a.m. and stays open later than 5 p.m. and is open Saturdays.
Walker said in addition to offering a service to the community, contract post offices offer a distinct plus for businesses operating them.
“It’s great for any local business that wants the foot traffic coming in there,” she said. “So any business that wants to generate more foot traffic should probably consider a contract post office.”
Monica Coachman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service said the post office is actively looking for a business to open a contract post office.
“We don’t have any takers at this time, so if there are any business owners who read this and are interested in opening a CPU, they should definitely let us know,” Coachman said. “If they don’t think they can do a CPU, then there’s also an approved shipper and village post office program as well.”
Interested parties should contact Tim Clair at (704) 393-4446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general information about Contract Post Units, including requirements to operate one, visit https://about.usps.com/suppliers/becoming/contract-postal-unit.htm.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151