By Kevin Williams
The post office in the Amish enclave of Pinecraft is the beating heart of the community. While electronic communities can seemingly supplanted mail for many, among the Amish it is still a lifeline. Perhaps few places more so than Pinecraft where the post office served as a gathering place for the transient Amish that lived here. Care packages would come and go, gossip swapped and notices tacked onto the bulletin board.
I've been to this post office before and it really does serve as a vital link between the Amish here and their families and loved ones up north.
Meanwhile, I wanted to reach out to the USPS myself to see if there was any new info I could glean. Sheesh, all I got was some canned PR-type statement. I'm not really criticizing the rep, she was/is just doing her job. But, wow, you'd think they could have given me a bit more to work with considering the questions I posed (I think that is what really annoys me is I asked very specific questions and they were essentially ignored)
My questions to the USPS:
1) What is the current status of the USPS in Pinecraft?
2) The postal service is probably aware of the unique place the post office occupies in the community, is that factoring into efforts to reopen?
3) Can you give me a sense of annual volume from that office?
4) Does the USPS have a timetable for reopening an office in Pinecraft?
Okay, and here is what I got this morning from the USPS:
The Postal Service’s mission is to provide a reliable, efficient, trusted and affordable universal delivery service that connects people and helps businesses grow. The Postal Service is currently in discussions with the parties involved, regarding the status of the Pinecraft Contract Postal Unit (CPU). Our goal is to reopen the Pinecraft CPU as quickly as possible.
As we work toward finding a solution, we want to remind our customers of the three Post Offices, all of which are less than 3.5 miles away, that can provide service: Sarasota Glengarry is 1.8 miles away; Sarasota Southgate is 3.1 miles away and Sarasota Main is 3.2 miles away. We extend our apologies to our customers for any inconvenience.
Enola C. Rice
Spokesperson, US Postal Service
So, there you have it. The Pinecraft post office remains shut. I know 3 miles doesn't sound far but the average Amish person in the village, that might as well be the next state. I think they'll eventually find a way to get the office reopened. I'll continue to monitor it and keep you posted.