Some in SLO County not happy with Postal Service plans

Many San Luis Obispo County residents and business owners would be affected by the U.S. Postal Service’s proposals to eliminate Saturday deliveries and increase rates.

Gary Simas, 68, of San Luis Obispo runs an antique toy business and ships products to his customers using the Postal Service.

For him, rates are paramount. “I’d rather see the post office close on Saturdays or stop Saturday deliveries than see shipping rates increase,” Simas said.

But American Flag & Gift owner Bridgett Solley uses the Postal Service to ship flags all over the country.Solley’s Grover Beach business would be impacted if deliveries were only made five days a week because Saturday deliveries are one of the services that American Flag offers.

“Since we operate Monday through Friday, closing the post office would not affect the business,” Solley said. “However, it would be an inconvenience for our customers who receive shipments and can’t receive them on Saturdays.”

The proposals by the Postal Service are made in an effort to fend off a projected $7 billion loss this year.As Americans turn more and more from paper to electronic communications, the number of items handled by the post office fell from 213 billion in 2006 to 177 billion last year. Volume is expected to shrink to 150 billion by 2020.

At the same time, the type of material sent is shifting from first-class mail to the less lucrative standard mail, such as advertising.

And as people set up new homes and businesses, the number of places mail must be delivered is constantly increasing.

The agency has asked Congress for permission to reduce delivery days and has previously discussed the need for other changes, such as closing some offices.

For Frank Kalman, 53, owner of San Luis Obispo Realty, a rate hike would be unwelcome.“Because my business relies on the mail, a shipping rates increase would affect me negatively,” he said.