Post office package deal

Travis Robinson sorts packages at the U.S. Post Office in Beloit. With the growing popularity of online merchandise ordering, the post office has experienced a marked increase in package deliveries.

BELOIT — The home-town post office has had to change along with the rest of the world, but mail carriers are still have the same commitment to getting their letters and packages to local doorsteps.

Renee Jordan, Beloit post master, said while letter delivery is down because of on-line bill payment and email, package delivery is up dramatically thanks to the increase in popularity of services such as Amazon and Zulily.

“We have seen a considerable increase in package delivery,” Jordan said. “Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve last year, we delivered 170,000 packages.”

The U.S. Post Office in Beloit is a Sunday delivery hub. Carriers in Beloit will make deliveries on Sunday not only to Beloit homes and businesses, but in South Beloit and Rockton as well. Jordan said sometimes staff from the Illinois post offices will send mail carriers to assist with Sunday deliveries, but most of these deliveries are made by Beloit carriers.

The post office also is responsible for Remotely Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) in Afton, Clinton and Sharon. Those offices have abbreviated business hours, but each office has a clerk to help mail customers.

The U.S. Post Office in Beloit has 79 employees, of which there are 36 city carriers and 24 rural carriers, Jordan said. The carriers are a mix of strictly motor-route delivery staff and carriers who park postal vehicles and have to walk door-to-door to deliver the letters and packages.

The workday varies for the carriers. Most carriers start their day at 8 a.m.. While some will be done with their deliveries by 4:30 p.m., other days they may not be done with their routes until 5 or 6:30 p.m. It all depends on the volume of parcels to be delivered on any given day.

“Every day is different at the post office,” Jordan said.

There still are customers who prefer to have their mail placed in a Post Office Box, and the staff at the post office are happy to assist all customers.

The staff have to keep up to date on conditions in the world as different situations may affect the timeliness of deliveries. For example, the recent outbreak of the coronavirus has caused some travel restrictions and flights to some countries. If a customer wants a packaged delivered to an affected area, the staff can advise them of their options, Jordan said.

The priority for the postal service remains timely delivery of items, and that starts with the well being of the postal employees.

“Our big focus right now is on safety,” Jordan said. “We want to make sure they have all the tools they need to be safe during their workday.”

Safety concerns can include dog bites, slipping on icy sidewalks or challenging travel conditions in rural areas.

The local postal workers strive to meet the challenges of the future as they make changes to meet the needs of customers.