Dear Diana Alvarado:

Santa Monica’s main post office has proudly served the public from its current location since 1937. But instead of celebrating its 75th anniversary of service to the community, Santa Monica is mourning its likely closure. At a public meeting recently, you heard how the public feels about this. But in a “bottom line” world, does the U.S. Postal Service have concrete reasons to continue to keep the location open if moving it would save money?

If the U.S. Postal Service hopes to have a future, it has compelling reasons to keep Santa Monica’s main post office going at Fifth and Arizona. Remember the prime rule of retail: “location, location, location.” A prime location is gold. Consider the REI store at Fourth and Santa Monica. Odds are most people walking by it aren’t intent on buying camping gear. While it may cost the REI chain more to keep that store open than it generally generates in revenue, the company sees a Downtown Santa Monica location as terrific advertisement worldwide for its brand. A successful business (especially one with multiple outlets) thinks beyond the immediate cost for broader gains. If the main post office continues to serve one of America’s most visited communities from a beautiful historic building in central Downtown, it sends the message: “The post office is here for the community, has been for a long time, will be in the future. We’re here to stay. You can count on us, even when times are tough.” That might be less cost effective in the short term, but it’s the way a business that wants to be around in the future operates. Once you move from your golden location, it’s never coming back to you. Gone forever.

You’ve heard the public concerns; RE: safety and access at the Seventh Street annex. From a business standpoint, the Postal Service sends a clear message, whatever it does in its current crisis. Even if it is less cost effective in the short term, keeping the main post office at Fifth and Arizona puts the Postal Service brand front and center in one of America’s most vibrant cities. Visitors from all over the world use it, alongside residents. Staying put says the U.S. Postal Service intends to stand its ground, weather its fiscal crisis, and fight again another day. It’s an investment toward a thriving future. Moving for short-term savings to a location the public has said it considers a dark alley (unsafe, out of the way, neither accessible nor desirable) sends an equally clear message: the U.S. Postal Service is a failure. “We’re going to continue operating, for awhile anyway, but are basically intent on crawling off into a corner to quietly die.” Your choice depends on your business model and future goals. It’s pretty simple: Hang tough for future success, or cut and run for certain future failure. It’s your call.

Mark Humphrey

Santa Monica

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