Vail Valley post offices gearing up for holiday rush
Hours extended in Vail, Avon and Gypsum for all remaining Saturdays until Christmas
While it will be postmaster Elizabeth Turner’s first busy season in Avon, it’s far from her first holiday-shipping crunch.
Turner started with the U.S. Postal Service during a holiday season in 1997 and has lived through the online revolution, both a worker sorting packages and a customer living in the mountains and ordering items via the internet.
Turner said earlier this week that the online shopping spree known as “Cyber Monday” kicked off a barrage of package shipping that won’t stop until mid-January.
“(Cyber Monday) has definitely increased our volume,” Turner said. “How we handle it is fed from the leadership … being positive about the whole thing is key in getting it done. Instead of saying, Oh my gosh, we’re going to get slammed with parcels because of this, we’re saying, Look at this, we’re making our customers happy.”
‘On-time this holiday season’
New for this year, dozens of area post offices have extended Saturday hours though the holiday season.
“As more and more customers shop online the Postal Service is moving to accommodate the customer’s needs,” said USPS Communication Specialist James Boxrud. “Customers can count on the Postal Service and our more than 620,000 dedicated employees to deliver their holiday gifts, cards and letters on time this holiday season.”
But the holiday season will also require some understanding from the customer, especially in Avon where no home delivery is offered. Turner says the most important point to understand is that local customers won’t receive UPS and FedEx packages until the day after those packages are dropped off at the Avon post office.
“The commitment from UPS and FedEx is the day after it’s dropped to the postal service,” Turner said.
Plan in place
While the Avon post office is short-staffed heading into the holiday season, Turner says they’re ready for the onslaught.
“We have a strong plan in place here, as a team,” Turner said. “We have strategically placed people.”
Over the next few weeks, you might see Turner herself working the main window while her team readies packages behind the scenes.
“I’ll be on the front lines,” Turner said.
With help from management at the district level in extended hours (Avon will be open until 2 p.m. every Saturday until Christmas, Vail until 3 p.m.), Turner said a positive tone has been set from the top down.
“It’s all about customer convenience,” said Colorado/Wyoming District Manager Junior Trujillo. “As we count down to the holidays, we know how demanding the season can be as we rush to get everything done on time. Staying open later on the four remaining Saturdays before Christmas will help our customer’s check holiday mailing off their to-do list.”
Turner said, through her experience, she’s trying to show the younger generation of postal workers that with a positive attitude, the online shopping explosion around the holiday season can remain well within their control.
“I try to feed them with my background, my history, so they can look and see that what we have right now really isn’t that bad,” Turner said. “Because what we did have was a lot of grandmothers shipping things across the counter, now it’s just people ordering online.”