A decrease in the use of snail-mail and the economic downturn led to the closure of Peninsula Mail & Parcel Etc.—also known as Post Office & More—at the end of August after 35 years in the Peninsula Center, according to owner Lara Okunubi.
"It's more now online," said Okunubi, who bought the contract post office and gift shop in 2007. "We saw a drastic decrease in the number of people that came for services at the post office."
When the economy went south, maintaining a separate P.O. Box—one of the more profitable aspects of the operation—became an additional expense that many could not afford.
"It's very sad because we were a very strong community partner," Okunubi explained, noting that her store was "like a one-stop shop" for seniors. "We had a very, very good relationship with the neighbors. If it was up to the customers, it would still be in business."
As the store's income from services like P.O. Boxes decreased, the overhead costs like rent continued to rise. The increase in the minimum wage also played a factor, she said.
Okunubi made the decision to close the post office at the beginning of the year, and people who maintained P.O. Boxes received 90 days' notice of the impending closure. Once it closed, mail delivered to a P.O. Box at that address would be returned to the sender.
"It's sad," she said. "You put your life into it—you put your soul into it—and when you have to take it apart, it's like taking a part of you … We are very sorry that we had to close … and we are going to miss everyone."
With the closure of Peninsula Mail, the only post office on top of the Hill is now the main U.S. Post Office at the corner of Deep Valley Drive and Silver Spur Road.