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New location for Grand Bay post office receiving mostly positive reviews

Eddy Billard opens his mailbox in the Grand Bay post office’s new location. The post office location recently moved from a residential area of Grand Bay East to the A-1 Liquidations business in Grand Bay West. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON
Eddy Billard opens his mailbox in the Grand Bay post office’s new location. The post office location recently moved from a residential area of Grand Bay East to the A-1 Liquidations business in Grand Bay West. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN CHAISSON - Contributed

Change of address

JOAN CHAISSON

SPECIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

GRAND BAY WEST, N.L. — The Grand Bay East post office is forwarding its mail to a new address.

For at least 50 years, the Grand Bay East post office has operated in the community, including 30 years under the direction of Dorothy Kettle. In fact, for 25 of the years that Kettle served as postmistress, the service operated from an office that was part of her home.

When Kettle retired, Bob LeRiche became postmaster, and the service moved just across the street to a small building on his property. LeRiche held this position until he recently retired on June 28. 

Canada Post began looking for a replacement, and one of the requirements was the person must have an establishment where they could house the office, plus the mailboxes.

On Aug. 12, the post office opened at its new location, A-1 Liquidations, a store owned by Brock and Kim Seaward in Grand Bay West. This meant that the services were now in a more business district and not the residential area it was in previously. The new postal space is much larger, with a new, up-to-date look and decor.

And there's still a familiar face behind the counter: Louise Francis, who previously worked in the post office with LeRiche, is currently working as the postmistress and brings with her many years of experience.

So far, so good

Kim Seaward says this move seems to be very positive for most people.

“The transitioning seems to be going very well," she said. "The majority of customers have been complimenting the nice set-up, lots of room and parking, and also the availability of being able to check their mail up until 5:30 p.m. daily and on Saturday is definitely a bonus."

That's something that appeals to customer Eddy Billard.

“It’s great to come over on a Friday night or even Saturday to get my mail," Billard said.

While the distance to the new location doesn't bother him - he says the drive only takes him a few more minutes - he is concerned about elderly people and those who do not have cars will have difficulty getting to the new location.

"A lot of older people were able to walk to get their mail, but now they are going to have to ask others for a ride or to pick up their mail for them," Billard said.

Seaward has also heard comments from people wondering how difficult it will be to get across the bridge connecting Grand Bay East to Grand Bay West on winter days to pick up their mail.

Seaward is hopeful it won't be too difficult for area residents.

“Our harsh winters make us all nervous at times and we can only hope that this winter is a good one," she said.

Gary Grant, owner of Grant Motors, was a customer of the old post offices. He really enjoyed being able to have lots of chats with the now-retired postmaster.

“I went to the post office even back to Mrs. Kettle’s time. I use to have daily chats with her, then Bob (LeRiche) or Louise (Francis). They were all great," he says.

"I don’t mind the location being changed. It is closer to my business and Louise moved with the office. All is good.”

Retail benefit

When asked if the addition of the post office has made a difference in running their liquidation business, Seaward says it's been a benefit so far.

“From a business perspective, the post office has brought new faces into our store and business has improved," she said.

"People are enjoying the convenience of being able to check their mail and shop for items at the same time. It's a win-win situation for all. We are delighted to see all the new faces at A-1, and any feedback is welcomed from the public to further improve our customer service. We hope for continued positive changes, and we will do our best to make our customers happy."

Residents can check their mailboxes at any time during regular store hours, but counter service has set post office hours.  

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