The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is planning to close thousands of low-traffic post offices across the country. Some are in big cities like New York and Chicago, but many are in sparsely populated rural areas such as Waverly, Washington and Mountain City, Nevada. In all, 12% of the nation's post offices could be closed. The U.S. Postal Service is looking to partner with small businesses to fill the void, reports MSNBC.
There's another model that communities about to lose their snail may want to consider. In the U.K., where hundreds of rural shops, pubs and post offices (or combination of the three, as is common) have closed in recent years, communities are banding together to own and operate their own shops and post offices, which are at the center of village life.
The village of Berrynarbor in Devon (population: roughly 750) is one example. In 2004, it was faced with the closing of its only shop and post office when the postmaster was to retire. Today, the post office—which also sells groceries and operates a cafe—is owned by the community and staffed by nearly 30 volunteers. There are around 250 such community-owned shops in the U.K., including 40 that opened in 2010 alone, according to the Plunkett Foundation.
In these cost-slashing days, it's a model to keep in mind.