Small Vermont community rallies to keep post office outpost

A Vermont community is asking the U.S. Postal Service to renew a contract with a local store to retain an outpost where people can collect their packages and mail

ELMORE, Vt. -- A Vermont community is asking the U.S. Postal Service to renew a contract with a local store to retain an outpost where people can collect their packages and mail.

The post office at the back of The Elmore Store in Elmore, Vermont, serves fewer than 1,000 people and could close as early as February, New England Cable News reported Wednesday.

Residents and elected officials rallied in front of the store Tuesday.

“That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen,” U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat, told the gathering.

The store was taken over by new owners at the beginning of January, according to its Facebook page.

In a statement, the Postal Service told New England Cable News: "The business that runs this unit has recently been sold and the Postal Service is in the process of negotiating a contract with the new owner. If there is any change to service there, Post Office Box customers will be given advance notice.”

If the post office closes, free mail delivery would be available to residents, but some do not want their packages left outside in the weather, or for other reasons prefer to rent a post office box at the store.

“It would mean I’d have to drive an extra 8 miles,” Randi Barrett said as she picked up eggs and dropped off a piece of mail Tuesday. “This store is really about community.”

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This story has been corrected to change Peter Welch's title to U.S. Rep. instead of state Rep.