Vanishing Americana

Mottvile, NY Post OfficeResident Pat Spillmann checks her post office box at the post office inside the Mottville Emporium in Mottville, N.Y., Monday, April 28, 2014.

Photos and Article By Kevin Rivoli | krivoli@syracuse.com

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL

Across rural America small town post offices are being closed in an effort by the U.S. Postal Service to stop mounting revenue losses.

Being an independent branch of the federal government, the postal service is mostly subsidized by postal fees. The fact that more people are paying bills and communicating online instead of mailing letters has forced the postal service to make deep cuts.

Many of the old brick-and-mortar post offices, slated for closure, could be morphed into village post offices. A village post office is one that is run by a small business owner as part of their retail operation offering limited postal services like selling stamps, PO boxes, or package services

-2a3ade7a10bff7e2Postal clerk Deb Holbein chats with Pat spillmann, right, and Maureen Bishop at the post office inside the Mottville Emporium in Mottville, N.Y. Holbein is also the owner of the Emporium.

Enter Deb Holbein, owner and operator of the Mottville Emporium. The Emporium offers consignment furniture, antiques, dry-cleaning and, of course, a post office, of which she is the clerk.

Mottville, a tiny hamlet in the town of Skaneateles, is made up of the fire department and a single two-story red building that is home to the Emporium and Tea and Treasures General Store.

That’s it. Blink while your driving and you miss it.

“Having a post office means we get to keep our zip code,” says Holbein. She’s quick to note that Mottville has had a post office since the late 1800’s. “We love our post office.”

-3b470a24df724eaePostal clerk Deb HolBein works in the post office at the Mottville Emporium in Mottville, N.Y. Holbein is also the owner of the Emporium.

Mottville resident Pat Spillmann agrees.

Spillmann makes her way through the small cramped overstocked shop to the back corner designated as the post office. She drops an envelope in the mail slot on the countertop, next to the greeting cards and bracelets, and then checks her post office box for the day’s mail. “I like to come in to chat and catch up on what’s going on around town,” she says.

The rural post office is an important fiber in the fabric of the community it serves, no matter how small. Like the 1980’s television sitcom Cheers – it’s a place where everyone knows your name.

-7ace04c55b93a896Mary Buttolph steps outside of the Mottville Emporium which houses the Mottville Post Office in Mottville, N.Y.

-7b4e1d275428835dThe Mottville post office shares space with the Mottville Emporium and Tea and Treasures General Store in Mottville, N.Y.

-6400045ea76176f4Owner and postal clerk Deb Holbein takes care of customer Ruth Klimek at the post office inside the Mottville Emporium in Mottville, N.Y.

This article first appeared in the April 30th edition of Syracuse.com America’s #1 Newspaper Website

 

 

Comments are closed.