HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Many Harrison County residents have to drive 10 miles round trip to get to the post office in Long Beach. On Thursday, a new postal facility opened in the county that's the first of its kind on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Many people who live north of Long Beach don't have to worry about waiting in long lines or traveling too far to mail their letters and packages. Now, the post office has come to them.
The U.S. Postal Service joined city and county leaders in celebrating the official opening of the Village Post Office. It's located in the Passport America building at the intersection of Red Creek Road and Beatline Road, and it's operated by the business.
Customers can come in to buy stamps, mail prepaid letters and packages and get access to their post office boxes.
"It brings in traffic on my corner here. It increases the traffic, and traffic is always valuable," said Passport America owner Ray Fernandez.
"I bought the first stamp this morning and put it on my granddaughter's birthday card, which is her birthday today. Oh, it's great. It's fantastic to have a post office here by us," said Harrison County resident Eva Reynolds.
Village Post Offices are usually located in existing businesses. The purpose behind the VPOs is to make it easier for customers who live in rural communities to get postal products and services.
"We want the customers to be able to use us as a matter of choice, as a matter of convenience and for economical reasons as well," said Long Beach Postmaster Pete McGoey.
"I'm old and I don't drive too much, and it's a long ways to go into Long Beach to the post office. So, I just walk down the street to get my stamps or whatever," said Reynolds.
There are now five Village Post Offices in Mississippi, including one in Perkinston. Two more will open in Vardaman and West Point in the coming weeks.
The first one opened in Malone, WA, in August 2011.