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Get yourself to the post office

by Linda Hiller, Staff Writer

Experts in the Carson Valley mailing business have some advice for people who haven’t mailed their packages yet.

“My best advice is … mail already,” said Gardnerville Postmaster Fred Gulley. “From now until just before Christmas, we’ll be busy, so the sooner people mail, the better. Especially in case there are problems with factors like weather and volume – those things definitely affect how fast the mail moves nationwide.”

n Gardnerville. Gulley said customer traffic at the Gardnerville post office, zip code 89410, has been busy for about a week. Monday, the line was out into the lobby, with at least one customer reporting a 45-minute wait to mail packages to Colorado, Ohio and Okinawa.

“Mondays are the worst,” Gulley said. “If people can, they should stay away from Mondays and come in early on Tuesday through Friday. Saturdays are also pretty busy.”

Gulley, who mailed already to California and New York, said all three stations will be open for the holiday, with four extra workers to supplement the regular employees.

Customers should have their packages ready to go before getting up to the front of the line, Gulley recommends. He also pointed out that the USPS offers free boxes, envelopes and labels – available in the lobby of most stations – for priority and express mail. Packages can be recycled boxes or wrapped in brown paper and must have clear labels and strong tape with no string or twine.

The Gardnerville Post Office is located at 1267 Highway 395 N. in the Meadowdale Center. Station hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday and closed Sundays.

n Minden. At the Minden Post Office, zip code 89423, Postmaster Deby Parrish said she hopes the extra hours she adds every year to Saturday’s schedule takes some pressure off customers.

“We are also busiest Mondays and Saturdays,” she said. “I think it’s because our shoppers shop all weekend and then want to mail Monday. I always add hours on Saturday, and I think it helps. We also do a regular lobby sweep, where one of our clerks will go out into the lobby and talk to people in line to answer questions and generally help with details.”

Parrish, who, like Gulley, has mailed already, said all three stations at the Minden station will be open for the holiday, with two temporary workers on staff this month. Monday, a dozen people stood in line at noon, spilling out into the lobby.

Parrish recommends that customers pick up parcels as soon as possible and that box holders keep their post office boxes cleaned out. She also recommends that customers buy insurance, since lost or damaged parcels are not automatically covered by the USPS.

Since Christmas Day is Monday and Christmas Eve is Sunday, Saturday, Dec. 23, will be the last official day the post fffice will be open, she said.

The Minden Post Office is located at 1640 Highway 395, across from the Carson Valley Inn. Station hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays through Dec. 23, and closed Sundays.

n Genoa. The Genoa Post Office, zip code 89411, is regularly staffed by Postmaster Emmy Dombrowski and Senior Clerk Jimmy DeJong. One extra employee has been added for the holiday.

Though general volume is up around 10 percent at the Genoa station, DeJong said things are running pretty smoothly so far.

“Of course, nothing is typical this time of year, but we do have the best customers in the Valley,” he said.

The Genoa Post Office is located at 2244 Foothill Road south of Genoa. Station hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, closed Sundays.

n Private. Mail Boxes Etc. can mail packages through several services, including the USPS, United Parcel Service and Federal Express.

Customers there can have parcels packed for shipping (for a fee), and although there is a service charge for general shipping, lines can move fast and customized service can get a package to the right shipping option, according to owner Dave Terry.

“We have many options and can help customers find the best way to ship,” he said. “We also sell postage stamps here with no extra service charge.”

Terry, who mailed his packages to England in October, said today will be the last day for regular shipping through UPS to the East Coast, since it takes up to six week days. He said his store recycles styrofoam packing material and will accept it from customers for re-use.

Mail Boxes Etc. is located at 1329 Highway 395, unit 10 in the Scolari’s Center. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, and this Sunday only, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 783-9776.

n UPS only. There are at least two other official UPS drop locations in the Valley.

n Central Systems Electric, 1253 Highway 395 in Gardnerville, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, closed Sunday. They also recycle plastic packing materials. For more information, call 782-5108.

n Valley Do-it Center, 1587 Highway 395 South, Gardnerville, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a..m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 782-5111.