Businesses say end of Saturday delivery will have minimal impact

Little impact anticipated by local businesses

February 6, 2013
Lori Roppelt, a U.S. Postal Service employee for 12 years, trudges through the snow delivering mail door to door on Grant Street in Houston Wednesday. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The U.S. Postal Service’s decision to halt Saturday deliveries gets Norm Candelore’s stamp of approval.

“It won’t have any effect on our company, and it means I won’t be getting billed on the weekends,” he said, chortling.

Candelore is the retail operations manager for Sarris Candies, the confectionery mecca that ships numerous packages each week from its Canonsburg operation, but very few via USPS.

In a cost-cutting move it has pushed for several years, the postal service announced Wednesday it will stop delivering first-class mail on Saturdays beginning the week of Aug. 5. It will, however, continue to deliver mail to post office boxes on Saturdays and to disburse packages six days a week.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the cutbacks are expected to save USPS about $2 billion a year.

The five-days-a-week mail service will impact companies in different ways, depending on the nature of a particular business and/or its size.

Sarris is a midsize firm, with 550 employees at its store and warehouse in Canonsburg, and in the Gardner’s Candies operations it owns in Central Pennsylvania. The postal service moves, Candelore said, “won’t change things for us one way or another.”

He said about 95 percent of Sarris packages are transported by FedEx or UPS, adding that FedEx also delivers on Saturdays and UPS will do so for an additional charge.

Monongahela Valley Hospital is a much larger operation with 1,235 employees. But Corinne Laboon, vice president of marketing and community relations, said the postal changes should have little – if any – effect on operations at the Carroll Township facility.

“From a patient perspective, I don’t think it’s going to have a significant impact,” said Laboon, whose hospital is the third-largest employer in Washington County.

“Basically, most of of our patient correspondence is electronic. Everything is available on a computer now.

“Anything requiring a hard copy would be in overnight mail and that would still be delivered. Our operations are pretty much electronic. Patients can pay bills online. A lot of paper mail is history anyway.”

Betsie Trew, chief executive officer and president of the Washington County Community Foundation, said the absence of Saturday mail wouldn’t impact the operations of the foundation, which raises charitable contributions for local uses. It’s a small nonprofit.

“It’s about time,” Trew said of the postal service’s decision to end Saturday delivery later this year. “Any business has to get its expenses in line.”

Betty Hartman, longtime owner of Hartman Flower & Gift Shoppe in Burgettstown, said the eventual suspension of Saturday mail delivery also will have minimal impact on her business.

“The only thing we really get on Saturday is people paying bills,” said Hartman, who employs two full time and two part time.

“If they aren’t delivered on Saturday, we’ll get them on Monday, and I don’t work that close that I have to worry about getting money into the bank.”

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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