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New River Mailbox moving; some postal services unavailable until after the move

11/30/16

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

NEW RIVER –New River Mailbox has been a cornerstone of the New River community for many years. The familiar rural post office will be moving to a new location across the street, with new ownership, effective at the end of next month. Paid postal services can no longer be accepted at the post office at this time, as the process gets underway. The current owners will no longer be running New River Mailbox.

Phyllis Dean, who has been running New River Mailbox with her husband Mark and daughter Patrice Tsosie for almost nine years, is sad to leave the business behind.

“We’re going to miss everybody,” Dean said, calling it “bittersweet.”

The building was bought by staff from the Foothills Veterinary practice next door to the post office, and the space that is now the post office will be remodeled into an extension of the veterinary clinic. Magnolias Salon, which is also in the same building, will be staying on the property.

The Deans’ lease for New River Mailbox was not renewed, and the lease will be up at the end of December. Dean said she found out in September that the lease would not be renewed and tried find a way to keep the business in its current location or to find a new storefront for New River Mailbox. The business will now be located in a building near the Roadrunner and will be run by Jennifer Beeman.

Those who rent a box at the post office will be getting a letter about the change, and the Deans are working to get everything transferred over for the box holders so there will be no interruption of service. The Deans are also continuing to take prepaid packages and stamped mail from now through Christmas. They can’t do any exchange of money for postal services, such as shipping a package that doesn’t have a prepaid label.

“We’ll be here until Christmas,” Dean said, adding that they wanted to be open to help customers as much as possible through the Christmas mailing rush.

Dean said they’re already starting to move items and will move all the individual boxes. Dean also said that the new owner has been approved by the post office and will be offering postal services.

New River Mailbox sees a steady flow of customers, as many as 80 on a typical day and over 100 during the Christmas season, according to Dean. They’ve served thousands of customers over the years and developed friendships with many of the frequent visitors. Dean recounted times that they’ve hand-delivered mail for homebound customers, tracked down customers to ensure they got their mail, and other community practices that have made the post office a staple in the community.

As customers came in during Dean’s interview with The Foothills Focus, she was repeatedly approached by residents wishing her well, saying how sad they are to see the post office go, and sharing stories of when they first saw the longtime New River business.

Dean said she’s grateful for the time the family has spent there. She’s now going to be spending more time with her grandchildren, who have been part of the post office family since they were born.

“It’s been a little family tradition,” Dean said.

The Deans will be at New River Mailbox until Dec. 26, and local residents are welcome to stop in and visit and wish them well. They’ll be sharing more information on the new post office location as details become available.