Contract post office shutting down in Tellico Village

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TELLICO VILLAGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "More Than Mail!" in Tellico Village offers - you guessed it - more than mail. Everything from UPS services, packing supplies, gifts and a full service post office - a contract the post office agreed to back in 1998. But on December 13, the post office part of the business will close and the store will shut its doors for good on December 31.

"I'm just extremely sad because I use this "More Than Mail!" all the time," said Genie Lyons, who lives in Tellico Village.

Owner Cindy Kolevar said she planned to retire at the end of the year, and wanted to sell her business to someone in town. All that was left to do was transfer the post office contract over to the new owners. She contacted the Loudon Post Master and he showed up with a letter terminating the contract instead. Kolevar talked to some higher-ups, but nothing changed.

"I said, 'This is profitable for you, why would you want to do this? It's so vital to the community.' They said, 'Because we can. You no longer fit the business profile of what we want for a contract unit and we're closing you down,'" said Kolevar.

It's upsetting news to many in Tellico Village, since there's no other post office close by.

"I measured on my car and it's about 20 minutes to Lenoir City and 25 minutes to Loudon post office. And then add on top of that, fuel cost and vehicle maintenance, it's going to cost us," said Scott Harvey.

"It also gives a difficult situation for older people who frequently can drive okay right around this area, but maybe not into the towns," said Barbara Sanders.

The post office told Kolevar she should apply for a new type of contract post office, but she'd have to get rid of her UPS service, the private mail boxes and all of the non-postal packing supplies. But she doesn't think that's fair, and is closing the store all together instead.

The US Post Office said it plans to open a new contract post office in Tellico Village - which will offer only postal services - by the end of the year.

The Post Office said contracts have changed since 1998, which is why "More Than Mail!" couldn't simply transfer its contract. It said new contract post offices can't sell competitors' services or supplies.

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