Huxford to lose service

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011

There is something sad about seeing yet another way of life disappearing. That is what will happen soon in Huxford when the United States Post Office will shut its doors, changing the lives of those who live in this small rural community.

“We have been in business for more than 50 years,” said Billie Ridgeway, vice president of Huxford Pole and Timber Co., Inc. “The post office closing is going to be a big hardship for us. I don’t feel comfortable putting up a mailbox our here and trusting our business to it. We will just have to have a post office box in downtown Atmore and that will be inconvenient for us and for Huxford School as well.

“I haven’t seen a closing date for the post office yet, but expect we will have a 90 day notice,” he added. “It will probably be before the end of the year. All of us hate to see it go.”

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According to Debra Fetterly, A/Communications Programs Specialist for the Alabama and South Florida Districts, the closing of Huxford Post Office is only one of many that is happening.

“Huxford is one of 44 Alabama post offices scheduled to close (13 of 44 have been suspended, some as long as a year, due to emergencies and/or safety hazards,” Fetterly said.”These suspended post offices will not reopen). Nationwide, there are 491 post offices suspended and a total of a possible 2,000 post offices to close (491 included in this figure).

“The combination of steady declines in volume, unnecessarily heavy financial burdens required by law and regulation, as well as steady increases in the number of homes and businesses we serve, has put unprecedented pressure on postal finances, threatening its ability to serve the nation in the near term,” she added. “Nationwide, there are 26,000 post offices that do not generate enough revenue to cover their costs. But revenue and expenses are not the only consideration when closing a post office. The proximity to other post offices and expanded access availability are considered. We make every possible effort to minimize the impact to our customers.”

The loss of the post office brings family memories back to Olen Parmer, who owns the property where the post office is located.

“I don’t know just how long the post office has been here, but I would guess at least 70 years or more,” Parmer said. “My father was the postmaster here for many years and after he stopped, my mother became the postmistress. After that my aunt took over, so it has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. I moved away for a number of years when I moved closer to where I worked for Container (Georgia Pacific) in Brewton. After 46 years I moved back here to Huxford. The post office used to be in the store that we owned and then later we added on to hold the post office. My family owns the old store, the post office building and several other places in Huxford, and the post office has rented space for 70 years. I think the closing has a lot to do with economics. For many years the post office paid for itself, but not anymore.”

Maria Alanis works down the road from Huxford with A/C Man Air Conditioning. She said she will miss having the convenience of the post office being so close by.

“It won’t be as easy on us, but we will have to go to Atmore for mail and it won’t be convenient for us to do that,” Alanis said. “By the time I get off in the afternoon, the post office is closed in Atmore. I either have to do things on my own time or go by Winn Dixie to buy stamps. It’s another case of economics making it hard for the ordinary person. The sad thing is, we’re sort of getting used to it.”