As the United States Postal Services ramps up changes to its pricing and delivery times, local businesses are hopeful their operations won’t be impacted.
On Oct. 1, the postal service announced changes to its standard mail delivery would cause letters and first-class packages to arrive between two to five days later, compared to its previous three-day maximum delivery time.
With Halloween season settling in, it’s prime time for the creepy creations of miniature artist Pat Benedict. Selling pieces internationally, she said she’s avoided standard mail service to ensure her packages arrive on time and are protected.
“I ship all my miniatures through USPS but mail everything priority (with) insurance and signature tracking. From what I understand, it will not affect priority shipping,” she said.
While priority shipping will not be affected by the slowdown, standard mail will see increased delivery times as the postal service cuts its budget, focusing on transporting mail more on the road and less out of planes. According to the USPS, about 20% of first-class mail previously was transported by air. With the changes, it will slash that number to 12%.
The changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan, dubbed the “USPS Delivering for America Strategic Plan,” meant to increase revenue for the agency. During the next decade, it’s projected to turn $160 billion in anticipated losses into $200 million in income.
For Curtis Couldry, owner of the pop culture keepsake store Cosmic Collectables, the slowdown gives him hope that more people will shop local instead of waiting the extra time for a package to arrive.
“I like to do my business in person. This way, the customer can see the condition of the item the moment they buy it and don’t have to worry if anything is going to happen to their item during the days it will take to get to them,” he said.
Other local businesses like the home decor store Nesting Goods and the gift shop Manic Snail said they depend more on foot traffic than mail and don’t expect to be affected by the delays.
“We don’t ship as much this time of year. It hasn’t really impacted us yet and the things I do ship out have been arriving when I expect them to. I haven’t really noticed it yet,” said Dana Massin, owner of Manic Snail.
Depending on a mixture of in-person and online sales, The Lucky Tiger, a vintage clothing, jewelry and curiosities store, is less enthusiastic about the delivery delays. Owner Amy Heath said after dealing with delays in 2020, the store is looking to ship its items through expedited services, but that might mean more money out of the customer’s pocket.
“I’m going to have to take the fee for the extra postage for Priority or the customer is going to and generally, the customers don’t like to pay extra for shipping if they don’t have to,” Heath said.
According to the USPS, prices are expected to rise, with hikes happening twice annually, in January and again in July, as well as a holiday season surcharge that began on Oct. 3 and will last through Dec. 26.
All of the price increases and shipping delays make Couldry happy that he chose to keep his business local and not expand to online web stores or auction sites like eBay.
“Since everything is going up, like USPS costs and fees from the online sites, I’m glad I chose the way I do things, and I hope that people will start shopping locally more often before going online for their items,” he said.