Sper­ryville post of­fice: six-hour days

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - Bar­bara Adolfi Sper­ryvilleNew­[email protected] (540) 987-8682

A pub­lic meet­ing, at­tended by about 25 cit­i­zens, was held Tues­day (Oct. 23) at the Sper­ryville Post Of­fice. Den­nis Vorhees, man­ager of post­mas­ter op­er­a­tions, and Kim Tim­ber­lake, mar­ket­ing, pre­sented the re­sults of the re­cent U.S. Postal Ser­vice sur­vey and its im­pact on our post of­fice. Be­cause of loss of rev­enue and vol­ume na­tion­ally, the USPS has in­sti­tuted “The Post Of­fice Plan,” which aims to pre­vent clos­ings, when pos­si­ble, and to keep the iden­tity and the of­fice in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Es­sen­tially, the re­sult for Sper­ryville is that, for now, the post of­fice will re­main open as a six-hour fa­cil­ity. The of­fice’s em­ployee will not re­port un­til 10 a.m. and “the mail will be up by noon,” which is about an hour later than now. Vorhees, who said the pro­posed sched­ule is 10 to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. week­days and 8:30 to 12:30 Satur­days, lis­tened to con­cerns that the noon lunch hour for post

of­fice staff might re­sult in lack of ac­cess by pa­trons to gather pack­ages on what might be their own lunch hour and said a later lunch hour clos­ing is pos­si­ble.

Sper­ryville’s hours were re­duced pre­vi­ously and the ru­ral route car­rier was trans­ferred to Wash­ing­ton’s post of­fice. The im­pact of this trans­fer was to drop the post of­fice from level 14 to 13, a postal ser­vice rank­ing that de­ter­mines hours of op­er­a­tion and post­mas­ter salary. Vorhees said the Sper­ryville of­fice will be reeval­u­ated in 2014.

We have re­quested that rev­enue and vol­ume for all the Rap­pa­han­nock post of­fices be pro­vided to the community. Be­cause the USPS is a quasipri­vate, quasi- pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tion, this may be con­sid­ered pro­pri­etary in­for­ma­tion and may not be avail­able to us. How­ever, it was pointed out that the de­ci­sion to move our car­rier to a dif­fer­ent post of­fice had the im­pact of re­duc­ing Sper­ryville vol­ume be­cause the mail is sorted and de­liv­ery ini­ti­ated in an­other fa­cil­ity.

What can you do? In the short term, buy all your stamps and ship all your pack­ages from the Sper­ryville Post Of­fice to keep vol­ume and rev­enue up. We may also want to con­sider the im­pact if these vari­ables drop and be­gin to study op­tions, such as co- lo­ca­tion in a lo­cal busi­ness.

In 1977, when ru­ral post of­fice clos­ings had be­come in­creas­ingly com­mon, Rap­pa­han­nock’s Jim Bill Fletcher was quoted in Coun­try mag­a­zine say­ing: “Now, you wouldn’t go to the A& P or Safe­way and start a dis­cus­sion with some­body, but in the old lo­cal post of­fices you could sit down and ar­gue with three or four other fel­lows – you may have re­mained four fools, but you ended up with in­de­pen­dent minds.”

We don’t have a pot belly stove to sit around and chat, but we cer­tainly still do en­joy the op­por­tu­nity to see our friends and neigh­bors dur­ing our trips to the post of­fice.

Fourth Fri­day in Sper­ryville

Mark your cal­en­dars and come stroll the streets of Sper­ryville this Fri­day (Oct. 26) from 5 to 8 p. m. for ca­ma­raderie and feasts for the soul and the stomach. Mid­dle Street Gallery will fea­ture an artists’ talk at 7 p.m. from pho­tog­ra­phers Gary An­thes and Jo Levine, whose work is cur­rently fea­tured there. An­thes will give a short il­lus­trated talk ti­tled “Bet­ter Pho­tog­ra­phy in Three Easy Lessons.” Light Hal­loween good­ies will be served.

Knit Wit Yarn Shop at the Sper­ryville School­house is of­fer­ing 15 per­cent off men’s and women’s sweaters. Next door, Co­terie has pump­kin carv­ing in front of the shop and 10 per­cent off most of the items throughout the shop. Bring your ap­petites, too, be­cause Mount Ver­non Farm is go­ing mo­bile and will be on­site grilling their tasty grass fed burg­ers, brats and sausages for sup­per and sell­ing their amaz­ing grass- fed prod­ucts as well.

Old Rag Pho­tog­ra­phy will have a wine tasting by Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton Win­ery and 10 per­cent of all gallery sales will be do­nated to the Food Pantry. Sper­ryville Emporium and Blue Ridge Moun­tain Dis­cov­er­ies will be open with ex­tra dis­counts, door prizes and free sam­ples of many good­ies such as jams, jel­lies and cider. (Also down at the West End, Hearth­stone School has a cos­tume “Fairy Tale Walk” for kids and fam­i­lies at 7. See the events cal­en­dar on page 10 for more in­for­ma­tion.)

We don’t have malls in Sper­ryville, but we have some­thing bet­ter – your friends and neigh­bors open­ing their shops for ex­tra hours so that you can Shop Lo­cal.

Cop­per Fox Dis­tillery in high spir­its

One hun­dred seventy-five years ago Belle Grove Plan­ta­tion, a thriv­ing Shenan­doah Val­ley grain plan­ta­tion in Mid­dle­town, op­er­ated a highly suc­cess­ful whiskey dis­tillery. Re­cently, of­fi­cials at Belle Grove an­nounced the in­tro­duc­tion of its sig­na­ture 1797 Whiskey and 1797 Whiskey Choco­lates – and Rick Was­mund’s award-win­ning Cop­per Fox Dis­tillery in Sper­ryville is now cre­at­ing Belle Grove 1797 Whiskey, in both clear-spirit and aged va­ri­eties. The whiskey will be in­tro­duced later this fall and will be avail­able at Cop­per Fox Dis­tillery and at area ABC Stores. Belle Grove 1797 Whiskey Choco­lates, hand­crafted by Choco­late Oc­ca­sions in Har­rison­burg, are made from pure Bel­gian choco­late with no preser­va­tives or ar­ti­fi­cial in­gre­di­ents by cer­ti­fied choco­latiers. You can pur­chase those now at the dis­tillery.

Was­mund, a for­mer Belle Grove board mem­ber, has been in­stru­men­tal in the suc­cess of this ini­tia­tive to ben­e­fit Belle Grove. The new prod­ucts re­flect Belle Grove’s his­tory and her­itage while serv­ing its con­tem­po­rary mis­sion of preser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion. The manor house on the plan­ta­tion is owned by the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion and the plan­ta­tion is a Vir­ginia His­toric Land­mark. Read more about this his­toric site at bel­le­grove.org.

Mean­while, ren­o­va­tions have be­gun to trans­form the old build­ing ad­ja­cent to the dis­tillery, which Was­mund re­cently pur­chased, into art gal­leries and space for malt­ing the bar­ley for whiskey. Paul Er­len­born, an artist well known for the re­pur­pos­ing of items, as well as the use of re­claimed lum­ber and ar­chi­tec­tural pieces, is the first artist to move into the build­ing that will be called the Cop­per Fox Malt House Stu­dios. The sign is ready to be hung and Paul plans to open his doors by Hal­loween.

Photo by Jan Clatterbuc­k/rap­pa­han­nock News

Jes­sica Jenk­ins (left) and postal em­ployee Heather Atkins chat out­side the Sper­ryville Post Of­fice.

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