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USPS shifts into high gear for holiday shipping season

By by Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
Dec. 11, 2013 at 10 p.m.


With the busiest mailing day of the year looming Monday, Johnny Wright and the rest of the U.S. Postal Service workers in Longview are working hard to make sure people receive their Christmas cards and presents on time.

Workload has increased by 20 percent since the end of November and the Mobberly Avenue office is receiving 60,000 more parcels of mail each day with the Christmas holiday approaching, said Wright, manager and current acting Longview postmaster.

"On a normal day, if we are talking about this particular office, we normally send out about 120,000 pieces of mail every day and the volume has increased to about 180,000 pieces," Wright said.

All mail from the McCann Road and Mobberly Avenue offices is delivered by letter carriers throughout the cities of Longview and Lakeport.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wright said the U.S. Postal Service is projected to deliver approximately 13.1 billion Christmas cards nationwide.

"Everybody thinks that the art of sending physical cards is dying out," he said. "It may be dying but it's definitely not dead. A lot of people still appreciate having the cards on their mantle."

Wright said the Mobberly Avenue office hired five additional temporary employees last month to prepare for the holiday mailing season and has six people sorting mail, three more than usual.

At Pack 'N' Mail, a private packing, mailing and shipping business, owner Dave Cornett said he had to double his staff for the holiday season.

"Here with our three stores, we've gone from nine employees to 18," he said. "This year, Thanksgiving landed so late in the year so there's one less week between those two holidays. That put everybody else that much farther behind. I look for Monday to be our busiest day as far as the retail part of our packing and shipping."

Polly Allen stopped by the Pack 'N' Mail store Wednesday to ship a gift to her niece.

"This is actually a Christmas slash birthday gift," Allen said. "She's going to New York for her 13th birthday so I'm trying to get it there for her."

Allen said she ships solely with Pack 'N' Mail and buys Christmas stamps to mail her Christmas cards.

Sally Lackey said she purchased about 200 stamps in preparation of sending out her family's Christmas card.

"I hope to get those out this week," she said. "I send out a bunch to all the childhood friends."

Pack 'N' Mail Manager Brandin Keen said the store prepares for the holiday season two months in advance.

"Especially with the ladies who are designing gift wrap," he said. "They have to start ordering their Christmas paper in July. For the packers it really doesn't start to pick up until after Thanksgiving. Once everybody does all that shopping, they get in here and start shipping it out."

Having worked for Pack 'N' Mail for 11 years, Keen said most people tend to wait until the last minute to ship Christmas cards and presents.

"About the 15th of December, that's when it hits us and people are stacked up outside the door," he said.

Keen said Pack 'N' Mail usually ships about 100 packages on a busy Monday.

But he said he expects the store to ship 400 to 500 packages Monday by way of the United Parcel Service.

"Back here in the packing room, we probably won't be able to move," he said. "We don't have a lot of space."

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