Along with milk, the deli, and hot pizza, there is something else that's enticing patrons to the West Hartford Village store -- the newly opened Village Post Office. The old post office in West Hartford was destroyed by flood waters during Irene.
"It meant that we had to travel to Hartford which was an unnecessary 14 miles a day to get our mail," said Alice Hazen of West Hartford.
The service is run and maintained by current store employees -- for a small stipend -- in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service. A concept created in 2011 to save money, there are now 58 village post offices across the country.
"The Village Post Office is limited service. We do sell stamps, flat rate boxes -- we have outgoing mail," said the store's John Farrow.
In the coming weeks, larger packages will also be delivered there, but store owners say it's about more than just convenience. "It is kind of bringing it back to the way it was a 100 years ago. In 1905 this was a post office," Farrow said.
They say having a place to mail letters and pick them up is all about community interaction -- crossing paths with neighbors, saying hello to friends. Local resident Sadie Woods can once again walk to get her mail. "I think it just gives people a place to cross paths that we didn't have for the longest time. The library is in the process of being rebuilt, but that has been held up because of various things, so this happened and is in place and I think people are happy for it," she said.
The village post office here is the only one in northern New England, which residents say is bringing people closer together, similar to how it was decades ago.
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