Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pass-a-Grille locals hope post office stays

The post office in Pass-a-Grille sits in the block-long historic downtown area at 103 Eighth Ave. among trinket, clothing and art shops. It dates back to 1905 but is one of 13 bay area locations the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing.

LARA CERRI | Times

The post office in Pass-a-Grille sits in the block-long historic downtown area at 103 Eighth Ave. among trinket, clothing and art shops. It dates back to 1905 but is one of 13 bay area locations the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing.

ST. PETE BEACH

Hours passed in the summer afternoon in Pass-a-Grille, and just a few souls entered the shoebox-size post office in the heart of downtown.

It gets busier in the winter, but even then the Pass-a-Grille post office is a sleepy place.

Locals like it that way. Chances are, there won't be a line. And if you've got the family in tow, there are gum drops on the counter and dog biscuits behind it.

"It would be kind of crazy to think of this place without a post office," said Katie Eagan, 25, who has lived in the area since she was a child.

But that is exactly what people in Pass-a-Grille are contemplating. Faced with financial losses, the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing 13 locations in the area, including the satellite office at 103 Eighth Ave. in Pass-a-Grille and the larger St. Pete Beach branch at 250 Corey Ave.

If both were closed, residents would have to travel to Tierra Verde or Gulfport.

"I hope they don't do that, because it's part of the charm of this street," said Dody Turner, who owns Dody, a clothing and home furnishings boutique.

The post office is a local magnet, Turner said, and "how we keep in touch with all the people that live out here."

Gary Sawtelle, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said it will take 30 to 60 days to decide which branches will go.

The Pass-a-Grille office has 300 post office boxes that many locals, including those on Vina Del Mar, rely on. It also offers express mail delivery, money orders and other services.

It is a historic place that dates back to 1905, when, as legend has it, local resident George Lizotte persuaded the government to establish the first outpost on the beach because the area had 16 chickens, two hogs, two pigs and two humans that needed mail service.

It was moved to its current location in the 1940s, when Ripley's Believe it or Not deemed Eighth Avenue the smallest main street in America.

Today there are automobiles and the Internet, but there remain people who say they hardly ever venture north of the Don CeSar, happy to contain much of their existence to a 2-mile strip of asphalt, concrete and sand with its tiny downtown, handful of restaurants, and bars, shops and single delicatessen.

Capt. Alva Sholty, who has run the shuttle to Shell Key for 20 years out of the Merry Pier at the foot of Eighth Avenue, said he goes into the post office twice a day.

"It grounds you, and you don't normally get that in today's hustle-bustle," said Sholty, who doesn't live in Pass-a-Grille but spends most of his time there.

"I will sorely miss that post office if it closes."

Not everyone waxes nostalgic.

Albert Hughes, who has lived in Pass-a-Grille for 13 years, said the Corey Avenue branch would be a greater loss.

"This one here is more of a convenience than anything," said Hughes, 67, a Merry Pier regular.

He summed up the Gulfport alternative this way: "I'm supposed to go 20 miles for stamps now?"

Luis Perez can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2271.

The hit list

Potential post office closings in Pinellas County:

1. Clearwater Beach, 45 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater

2. Cleveland Street, 650 Cleveland St., Clearwater

3. Countryside, 25941 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater

4. Central Station, 4001 35th St. N, St. Petersburg

5. Euclid, 901 34th Ave. N, St. Petersburg

6. St. Pete Beach, 250 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach

7. Pass-a-Grille, 103 Eighth Ave., St. Pete Beach

Pass-a-Grille locals hope post office stays 08/08/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 8, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  2. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17

    Business

    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  4. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion

    Retail

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  5. Advice for presidents from military families they've tried to console

    War

    One family returned the letter because it was full of errors. Another was left cold when the letter they got screamed "robo-pen." Still another was puzzled to find 17 copies of their letter in the mailbox.

    Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Cowan, 37, was killed in a helicopter training accident in South Korea on Feb. 26, 2005. [Courtesy of Kari Cowan]