NORTH SALEM — Jason Lalli was upset when the North Salem Post Office had to remove its stamp machine. The situation also gave him an idea to help his customers at the North Salem Food Plaza.
“When they had the stamp machine in there, you could go and get stamps at 11 o’clock at night if you needed to,” he said.
Lalli is a resident of Brownsburg and owns and operates the North Salem Food Plaza and Marathon station at 3 S. Main Street.
“I basically wanted to be able to offer stamps to my customers,” he said. “We can also do other postal services like priority box shipping.”
The North Salem Post office is open from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. To offer extended postal services, Lalli added a Village Post Office (VPO) to his business.
“We’re the only gas station and convenience store in town, and our customers often come into the store about three or four or five times a day,” he said. “I wanted to provide a service for them, so they could pick up a book of stamps while they’re here.”
The North Salem Food Plaza is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service introduced the VPO model as an alternate retail location for postal products and services, especially in rural communities.
VPOs are operated by local businesses contracting with the Postal Service, and offer a range of postal products and services including stamps and flat-rate packaging.
Lalli and his staff recently held a grand opening event at the store. Kim Hernly, manager of post office operations, and other local officials were present.
“It’s been going better than I expected,” Lalli said. “We will sell more when more people know about it.”
For more information about VPOs, visit the website at www.uspsvillagepostoffice.com.