Missouri is getting its fifth Village Post Office today.  It’s part of a new service direction for the United States Postal Service. The facility will be in the City Hall in Downing, a town of about 335 people north of Kirksville.  Although Downing already has a post office, its hours are limited.  The facility  will provide the postal service’s most popular products and services, including flat-rate packaging and stamp sales.

Postal Service spokesman Valerie Welsch says VPOs, as they are called, don’t provide some services such as mailboxes (in most cases) or home deliveries.

The important thing is that they extend service beyond the hours of regular post offices, which in many small towns are open less than eight hours daily. She says grocery stores are popular locations for them. The first four village post offices have been put in Bevier, population 720; Higbee, population 570, Rhineland, with about 140 people, and Thompson, an unincorporated small cluster of buildings near Mexico.

She says several other small towns are waiting for Postal Service approval for their own village post offices.

AUDIO: Welsch interview 7:53