A service running for several years now makes the lives of Amish in one part of Ohio easier when it comes to handling postal business. A “Post Office on Wheels” brings postal services to the Amish where they live. The post office is already mobile in some sense for all of us, in that it does regular mail pickup and dropoff. So what’s the difference here? From the story in the New Philadelphia Times-Reporter:
BALTIC ‒ Every weekday morning, Zack Triplett heads out from the Baltic post office, bringing the U.S. Postal Service to nearby Amish residents in Coshocton and Holmes counties.
He goes to about 20 Amish businesses to pick up packages and makes lengthy, scheduled stops in Farmerstown and New Bedford. Residents in those two communities walk up or come by bicycle or horse-drawn buggy to the “Post Office on Wheels” to mail packages, buy stamps or conduct any other type of business that people would do at a brick-and-mortar post office.
On the value this service provides:
There are no post offices in Farmerstown or New Bedford. The nearest offices are in Baltic and Fresno. “For them, that could be a half a day’s trip maybe. Bringing it out here to them definitely helps,” he said.
Baltic’s Post Office on Wheels has been in operation for three years. Baltic is just one of two post offices in Ohio that goes out to pick up packages from Amish businesses. The other is in Fredericksburg in Wayne County, but it’s not a mobile unit offering other services like Baltic.
Triplett receives all sizes of packages when he makes his daily rounds — everything from 2 ounces to 70 pounds. The packages come from a variety of companies, including a horseshoe business, a company that repairs farm equipment, a man who sharpens razor blades and a company that sells a mix for making ice cream. Items also include housewares and fishing tackle.
There is another similar service operating out of Fredericksburg in this same community. However it is not as extensive as this one out of Baltic. Locals, both Amish and non-Amish, appreciate this service:
Andy Hershberger, owner of New Bedford Sports Supply, appreciates the service. He previously used a different shipping company to mail packages, but he said the Postal Service is cheaper.
“It’s awful handy for us,” he said. “We pay them $200 and we don’t have to worry about paying every time.” Holmes County Commissioner Joe Miller said people in the area like the mobile post office.
“The postmaster over there (Baltic) needs to be complimented,” Miller said. “He’s doing this for the Amish community, and they absolutely love it. Now anybody can use it, but New Bedford doesn’t have a rural post office. So they’re getting the same opportunity. There’s a lot of little businesses, and they can send stuff out at that portable post office with commercial prices.”
The Post Office on Wheels has grown in popularity. In the three years of its existence, the volume has doubled from 7,000 parcels to 14,000 per year.
This is just one of a number of mobile services serving Amish in some places (generally larger communities) – including bookmobiles and mobile health clinics. If there is enough demand it makes a lot of sense to provide these services. It also makes you wonder what other mobile services might find a viable market in Amish communities.