KIRKSEY, Ky. - Residents have regained postal service at a popular gathering spot in the western Kentucky community of Kirksey.
The Murray Ledger & Times reports the Kirksey Store has become a new Village Post Office in the Calloway County community.
Now, residents can get a bite to eat or shop for groceries while they're picking up their mail.
The U.S. Postal Service closed the previous post office in April.
Kirksey resident Dixie Wells said having a post office of any type will help the community keep its identity.
"I think that's probably a lot of it with the people here," she said. "By keeping the boxes here, it gives them a feeling of how it's always been."
The mailboxes are located in the back of the store, near where the daily breakfast and lunch crowds gather.
"I've been out here during those times and it fills up here," said Joe Pat James, a Kirksey native who now lives in Murray.
"This is still home to me and, I tell you, you've just lost too much when you lose your post office, but if this keeps service here, I'll accept it."
Roland Moore of Somerset, Village Post Office coordinator for the Kentuckiana District of the postal service, said the Kirksey office was shut down because a qualified replacement was not found after the person who had managed that office was reassigned.
Moore said because the postal service is looking to "reduce hours to match workload," that meant finding alternative means of serving the community. Kirksey became the fifth Kentucky location to establish a village office.
"And that went back to the community identity thing I think," Moore said. "The people here didn't want to go to Murray or somewhere else to do their business. They wanted to stay here. They're Kirksey."
Moore said most business handled at a regular post office will be available at the village location in Kirksey. Customers can purchase stamps, mail letters and submit packages, classified as "flat rate items." That would include items in boxes and envelopes up to about 45 pounds.
Moore said he's not surprised the new village location has been so well received. He said he has been to 112 counties to discuss post offices and when he went to Kirksey, more than 80 people attended a meeting about the post office.
"They even had their choir there that night and that just showed how much they cared," he said. "There are some places we've been and there haven't been but two people show up."
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