Holiday Shipping Shape in the 80461
“We Are Ready!” ~ Postmaster Sandoval
Do you still mail out Christmas cards? Perhaps you include a family note and photo? While 21st-century technology has many merrymakers extending their holiday wishes digitally for the sake of the planet, and convenience, there are still plenty who put a stamp on it.
In fact, according to the United States Postal Service (USPS) a projected 12 billion-plus letters, cards and packages will be processed and delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And that includes those in the 80461 – or further south in Twin Lakes’s 81251. So how’s the shipping shape looking in this mountain community as the holiday mailing season heads into the thick of it?
It’s check-in time with the neighborhood Postmaster Greg Sandoval to see what’s new with the mail crew and remind readers about looming deadlines for holiday cards and packages. Sandoval has been the Leadville postmaster for the past eight years since May 2013, putting in another seven years prior to that appointment. You could say he’s a pro at “delivering the letter, the sooner, the better,” in Leadville Today. And he’s got the numbers to prove it.
Today, Team 80461’s highest volume package delivery date happened on December 14, 2020 where 2,233 parcels were delivered in one day! Here are some other numbers that Postmaster Sandoval shared:
- December 2016 – parcels delivered: 19,247
- December 2017 – parcels delivered: 20,471
- December 2018 – parcels delivered: 23,936
- December 2019 – parcels delivered: 25,836
December 2020 still holds the highest parcel delivery, coming in just shy of 30,000 for the month. But with Peak Monday just around the corner – December 13 – Leadville 80461 could break new records. But the numbers that haven’t changed for Sandoval concern staff. Something to keep in mind this holiday season in America’s highest city.
“We have been really swamped and short-handed on help, so everyone has been working 6 days a week for the last several months,” said Sandoval. “I have some new help finally coming on board before peak season and have rented an extra vehicle to help with mail delivery during the holiday season.”
Readers may remember LT’s earlier report about the changing dynamics at the local “PO,” as the locals call it. As the booming second homeowner market shifts the demand for package delivery in Lake County, the decision for many to not establish an official mailing address is an important factor tied into the 80461 postal staff.
“We have not leveled up yet,” Sandoval reported to Leadville Today in October 2021, “and unfortunately I haven’t had much time to see how much growth we have had.” The “level” component is key to Sandoval being able to expand his current staff and resources, as the number of mailing addresses is a big factor in how the USPS determines its budget. So while the need grows, the Leadville postmaster’s ability to keep pace intersects with the present-day landscape of homeownership in the 80461. Fortunately, Sandoval grew up right here in Leadville and that dedication to serving his friends and neighbors always shines through, but perhaps brightest during the holiday season.
“I have been out carrying mail almost every day, along with one of the clerks,” he reported, adding that during the holiday season the post office plans to open a few minutes early to help with congestion and close a few minutes later to help with parcel pick-ups.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations. And in small rural communities, that’s important for jobs and for services. So it’s three cheers and a grateful holiday wave to Team 80461, standing. head and shoulders above the rest and not just because you’re the highest PO in America, but because you’re also the best!
Here are the deadlines for getting packages or online orders delivered by Dec. 24. They generally apply to mainland U.S. orders and deliveries.
U.S. Postal Service
- Dec. 15: USPS Retail Ground
- Dec. 18: First-Class Mail
- Dec. 19: Priority Mail
- Dec. 23: Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 15 – UPS Ground
- Dec. 21 – UPS 3 Day Select
- Dec. 22 – UPS 2nd Day Air
- Dec. 23 – UPS Next Day Air
- Dec. 15: FedEx Ground and Home Delivery
- Dec. 21: FedEx Express Saver
- Dec. 22: FedEx 2Day
- Dec. 23: FedEx Standard and Priority Overnight
- A full list of FedEx’s service options can be found here. FedEx also shares updates about regional shipping delays, which could increase as we get closer to the holidays.
USPS Remains Solid Across All Categories
The hopes and holiday packages are stacked high to the ceiling when it some to the United States Postal Service. While this nationwide network has been given a black eye in the media in recent years, across America letter carriers and postmasters are not throwing in the towel and stay committed to their ever-faithful slogan, although these days there’s a whole lot more threatening this institution’s future than the weather! “Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night Shall Stay These Couriers From The Swift Completion Of Their Appointed Rounds.”
In a press release distributed to media outlets on December 4, 2021, here’s the latest from the USPS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
With the holiday peak shipping and mailing season underway, the United States Postal Service reported new service delivery performance metrics showing solid service performance for First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, and Periodicals through the first eight weeks of the fiscal first quarter. Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, the Postal Service’s network was running smoothly and well-positioned to process an anticipated surge in package and mail volume in December.
First quarter-to-date service performance scores covering the period Oct. 1 through Nov. 26 include:
- First-Class Mail: 91.1 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 2.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter.
- Marketing Mail: 92.4 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, consistent with performance from the fourth quarter.
- Periodicals: 83.4 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of .6 percentage points from the fourth quarter.
One of the goals of Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, is to meet or exceed 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products once all elements of the plan are implemented. Service performance is defined by the Postal Service as the time it takes to deliver a mailpiece or package from its acceptance into our system through its delivery, as measured against published service standards.
The Postal Service anticipates that between 850 million and 950 million packages will be delivered for the holidays. The total number of letters, cards, and packages processed and delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is estimated to be more than 12 billion.
The Postal Service’s preparations for the 2021 holiday peak season included: the conversion of 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions and the onboarding of more than 185,000 employees since the beginning of last fiscal year, including the backfilling of the 63,000 pre-career employees and the national drive to add an additional 40,000 seasonal hires; the leasing of 13 million square feet of additional space across more than 100 locations, including over 50 annexes with multiyear leases to address year-round space constraints due to parcel growth; and the installation of new processing equipment to accommodate higher volumes reflecting customers’ delivery needs.
Between April and November, the Postal Service installed 112 new package sorting machines, reflecting part of the $40 billion of planned investments under the 10-year Delivering for America plan. Additionally, more than 50 package systems capable of sorting large packages are being deployed. Altogether, the new investments give the Postal Service the capacity to process an additional 4.5 million packages each day.
The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.