The same could describe its post office, steeped in history and offering dedicated customer service with a side of honest-to-goodness charm.
But that geniality is being put to the test as postal workers brace for possible rollbacks in staff and service hours, thanks to the ever-growing financial woes felt by the United States Postal Service.
“We understand. They’re trying to save money, trying to make cuts where they can,” said Elmira Postmaster Nadine Jeremy on Monday. “But I’m going to fight. I’m going to turn this around. … Once you take away from a business it’ll start to deteriorate.”
“It’s like a family,” added Jeremy of the close-knit staff and clientele.
The post office, located off A Street on Vaca Station Road, was founded in 1868 and later featured a barbershop and grocery store. It relocated to its current spot, flanked by a profusion of blooming agapanthus, in the late 1990s.
In the entryway, customers are greeted with framed historical and current photos of the city that line a wall of post office boxes. And inside the office, itself, is a cozy space often decorated according to the current holiday. On this day, a mylar flag banner was draped along the counter, paper lanterns hung from the ceiling and homey related memorabilia were displayed on the walls.
Not just a place for mail, the post office is a monument of sorts to the town’s history, the postmaster said, with clients often asking for copies of the old news photos that feature their grandparents or great-grandparents.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” Jeremy remarked.
Such is what makes the Elmira Post Office unique, she said, and worth fighting for. Operating hours and her work hours are threatened, she continued, adding that she will already be taking a pay cut to keep the post she loves.
Jeremy is asking for community support, to come out en masse for a July 8 meeting hosted by the postal service at 7 p.m. at the fire station, 6080 A St. Voice your opinion there, she urged, fill out the surveys that were mailed to you and get in touch with your legislators.
Another way to help — open a P.O. Box.
It’s all about the numbers, she said, a mathematical formula in which the postal service calculates workload. Less P.O. Boxes rented means less work in their eyes, she explained.
“We need another 107 Vacavillians to come out and rent boxes,” she pleaded.
“I provide a service like no other that keeps you wanting to come back. It’s the personal, one-on-one I’m able to provide. I just want everyone to love the post office,” she said. “I know everybody here by name. If they’re waiting for a package, I will often pick up the phone and give them a call when it comes in. … Or, they can call me.”
The post office, like others around the country, are re-evaluated annually. That gives Jeremy hope that the cutbacks could be staved off. Right now, though, the facility is on shaky ground.
“We need you,” she said.
The Elmira Post Office is located at 5377 Vaca Station Road. Operating hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.