Santa can’t be expected to deliver all those holiday packages, so the U.S. Postal Service is keeping some of its Valley post offices open on weekends to help.
Post offices in downtown Fresno, near Old Town Clovis and in downtown Madera are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through next weekend for customers who want to mail letters, cards or packages.
While some Post Office locations in Fresno, including Woodward Park, East Fresno and Hughes, are open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., none have opened on Sundays during holiday seasons in the past.
Fresno Postmaster Eve Forrest said the extended holiday hours have been a success.
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“It’s been a great avenue for those who cannot get to the Post Office Monday through Friday,” she said. “During this busy holiday season, it’s just adding additional value to our customers.”
Nationally, the Postal Service expects to see a roughly 12% increase over last year in its package business this holiday season because of continued online shopping and improvements in Priority Mail products. That means processing and delivering 450-470 million packages.
Forrest said she expects to see a local minimum 40% increase in the package business over last year. She attributed it to the growth in online shopping, competitive shipping rates and increases in the last-mile program, which delivers UPS and FedEx packages from post offices to the final destination.
She said Monday is the busiest shipping day nationwide, while Wednesday is the biggest delivery day. To ensure packages arrive by Christmas, she said customers should note that Dec. 20 is the cutoff date for shipping priority mail and Dec. 23 is the cutoff for shipping priority mail express.
Fresno post office supervisor Johanna Ortega said her location at 1900 E St. saw around 20 customers Dec. 7, and 30 on Sunday. She said customers are now starting to hear about the extended hours and getting excited.
Latrese Lewis was at the E Street Post Office Sunday afternoon. She came just to mail a letter then saw it was open and decided to ask about a package that hadn’t arrived.
Asked whether she’d come back next weekend, Lewis said, “Yeah, I probably will.”
Many customers at the downtown Fresno post office Sunday came to drop off or pick up mail, but didn’t know about the holiday hours. One man depositing mail said it was surprising to hear the post office was open.