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Postal Customers Dismayed at Possible Closure

News that the Postal Service may shutter the East Dedham branch was cause for concern.

With news percolating that the is under , shoppers at the Dela Plaza expressed frustration at the loss of a neighborhood convenience. Many said they would drive out of town to use other branches if it is shuttered.

“I wouldn’t want to see it closed. No way,” said Joe Sbardella. “You have to remember that there are a lot of elderly in the area, and a lot of people without cars. They are not going to go all the way up town to mail one letter. You have to keep in mind the people in need.”

The elderly, particularly those who live in Parkway Court, the nearby housing complex for senior citizens, was also on the mind of Kelly Ray.  A hairdresser at in Dedham Square, Ray said she used the East Dedham branch due to the ample parking.

“I use it all the time,” Ray said. “There is no parking in [Dedham] Square; it’s horrible. This is much more convenient.”

A review for closure doesn't mean shuttered doors for sure. The Huffington Post reports the USPS announced a review of 1,400 offices in January, but has closed only 280 of those so far and spared another 200.

Changing times have the Postal Service re-evaluating their bottom line. 

“Customers have shown us that they no longer need a brick-and-mortar post office,” Valerie Hughes, a USPS spokeswoman, said. She pointed to the USPS’s automated postal centers, mobile apps and online services and as well as retailers that sell postage. Hughes said the USPS has seen a decline in post office visits that amounts to 200 million over the past five years.

Dedham Postmaster Nicolas R. Francescucci declined to comment because he hadn't been briefed on all the details, and referred questions to a national spokesperson.

In a USPS press release earlier this year, Dean Granholm, vice president of Delivery and Post Office Operations, acknowledged “Consumer behavior is changing. It is important for the Postal Service to adjust to the shift.”

But that isn't the case for everyone using the East Dedham branch.

“I’m here five or six times a month,” according to resident John Murray. “This one is close to my house. If it is closed I’ll probably have to go to Wolcott Square or Cleary Square.”

Many interviewed Tuesday afternoon cited the lack of parking in Dedham Square as the reason that kept them from using the on the corner of High Street and Maple Place.

“The Square is just too congested, especially when you have three little ones with you,” said Tammy Shea, who said she visits the East Dedham Post Office twice a week to buy stamps and money orders.  She said she would instead drive to the Readville Post Office, if the East Dedham branch was closed.

For Derek Moulton, the post office is just one of many amenities that makes East Dedham an attractive place to live. Still, he said, he understands why the Postal Service is considering shuttering some branches.

“We live in an electronic world,” Moulton said. “At our house we pay all our bills online and almost never send anything through the mail anymore. It will be sad to lose the convenience of being able to walk around the corner instead of fighting for parking in Dedham Square, but the Postal Service has some tough decisions to make. In the 21st century can a town the size of Dedham really support two post offices?”

Particularly for younger shoppers, using the post office has been replaced by emails and text messages for communication. Still, many were reluctant to see the doors closed.

“I don’t use it that often,” 21 year old Geron Topi said, “but it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it.”

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