San Simeon patrons likely will soon have two fewer hours per weekday in which to retrieve mail from their 173 boxes at the small town’s equally tiny postal branch.
It beats the alternative. The fewer-hours option was far better than closing the branch, according to 92 percent of patrons who responded to a by-letter survey, according to postal officials. Among those patrons also were the approximately 245 rural addresses to which mail is delivered in a 75-mile, round-trip route that covers mailboxes as far north as Ragged Point.
Currently, the branch that’s based in the northeast corner of Sebastian’s General Store & Café is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an hourlong closure at noon so postal clerk Connie Gonzales can have a lunch break.
Gonzales sees the issue from two points of view, as an employee and someone who rents a postal box at the branch. She agrees with the majority opinion. “I’m happy to have the job. I like it here, and I love the customers. I’m glad we can stay open and be here for them.”
On Nov. 28, postal officials, including David Vance from Santa Clarita and Brian Machado, Cambria’s postmaster, shared details with about a dozen hardy patrons who braved stiff winds and heavy rain to attend an evening meeting at Sebastian’s. Machado said the get-together also was designed to get local input, especially about what hours of operation would be best for the branch’s patrons.
Machado said the change could happen sometime next year.
Among entities that get their mail through the branch are Hearst Castle, State Parks regional office and Hearst Ranch.