Local residents mailed more Christmas gifts this season than in the past at local Post Office

By Bob Robinson
Star Staff

More people mailed Christmas gifts at the Elizabethton Post Office this year than in the past.
   Rated one of the best in customer satisfaction in the area, the local Post Office served an average of 500 people a day, between Dec. 2-24, at the retail counter.
   Their busiest days at the counter were Dec. 3 and 17, according to John Pierce, supervisor of customer service. "Sales were about the same as last year."
   Pierce also said:
   * The number of parcels processed at the local Post Office increased from 14,000 to more than 17,000 this year.
   * The volume of mail processed by bar code sorter machines increased from $1 million to $1.1 million.
   * The number of hand-processed Christmas cards, those with colored envelopes, dropped to 131,000 from 161,000 last year.
   "The bar code machine has difficulty reading zip codes on colored envelopes," Pierce explained.
   Pressed into service three years ago, the bar code machine sorts 36,000 pieces of mail daily which is delivered in Elizabethton, Milligan College, Roan Mountain, Mountain City, Hampton, Butler and Trade.
   The Elizabethton Post Office employs nine city route carriers, 14 rural route carriers, three retail clerks and seven mail processors. The Tennessee District of the U.S. Postal Service recognized the Elizabethton Post Office, recently, for providing good customer service and employee satisfaction.
   "All our employees take pride in providing good customer service. Some of our most senior employees are working the retail counter," Pierce added.
   Pierce has been employed by the U.S. Post Office for 29 years. He was Postmaster in Bluff City and worked in Post Offices throughout East Tennessee and Michigan, prior to coming to Elizabethton.
   Last year, the Elizabethton Post Office was Number One in the Southeast, for a Post Office its size, in the sale of breast cancer stamps.
   As the 2001 Christmas season wraps up, employees at the Elizabethton Post Office are gearing up for their next busiest time, Valentine's Day, followed by Mother's Day, Easter and Father's Day.