Cape Porpoise resident Diane Wildes picks up mail last week at the post office inside Bradbury Brothers Market. Citing several factors, the store owners have decided to cease offering post office services on Dec. 31. The U.S. Postal Service has announced it will install boxes at Fireman’s Park. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – Diane Wildes walked to Bradbury Brothers Market to pick up her mail at the post office on Wednesday, Nov. 21, just as she has done for many years.

“I remember when the post office was located in a little building across from the church,” said Wildes. Then, in the late 1960s – some say 1968, others 1969, it moved to Bradbury Brothers Market, at 167 Main St.

She and 287 other boxholders will not receive mail, buy stamps, or post packages inside the store for much longer.

Come Dec. 31, the post office here will close, and new post boxes will be located at Fireman’s Park on  Mills Road, about half-a-mile away.

The decision to cease being a contract postal unit came from the store owners, Jim and Christine Faiella. The couple bought the store about five years ago and four years ago led the charge to keep the post office there, said Jim Faiella, in a recent telephone conversation.

He said the decision came due to several factors.

When the couple, with support from the community, decided to save the post office four years ago, “we knew we wouldn’t make money,” said Faiella, “but that had little to do with it.” He said staffing was always an issue, and the post office section of the store is small, and not large enough to handle the plethora of boxes and parcels that are delivered there each day.

“It’s a different world we live in. It’s like an Amazon shipping center and were not geared up for that,” said Faiella. “Some people get 11 packages a day.”

When the couple bought the store, the post office operated 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. six days a week.

“When the post office wanted to close us, they offered only a fraction of what they were paying, a real fraction,” said Faiella, when the couple wanted to keep it open. “And they didn’t stipulate how to run it, so we cut the hours back to 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. six days a week, to save it.”

He said if he and Christine had looked at the situation in a strict financial basis, they would have closed it four years ago.

Put all the factors together, plus such conundrums as having 80-year-old post boxes that sometimes break and with few parts in which to repair them – because they’re not made anymore – well, it was time.

Kennebunkport Postmaster Andrew Rideout, in a letter to boxholders, said if people want to keep their present service, they do not need to do anything, it will be automatically transferred to Fireman’s Park.

“As you all know and we were saddened to hear, Bradbury’s has chosen to cut their contract with the United States Postal Service,” Rideout wrote. “This is a hard decision and one I know they did not make lightly; it is a tough operation and there’s a lot of responsibility in running one of these.”

Cape Porpoise boxholders can get one of the new mailboxes which are set to be installed at the park, a new box at the USPS in Kennebunkport near Dock Square, or, Faiella said, put up a mailbox at their residence.

For her part, Wildes, who lives within walking distance of the market, said she will look for her son to put up a mailbox for her. She said the new postal location is too far for her, on foot.

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