Bill Meredith, the former owner of Gulfport Beach Bazaar, readies Jaime Marie’s package for shipping from the post office counter in the back.
571 signatures, later amended to 645. Letters from Mayor Mike Yakes, Congressman Bill Young, the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Merchant’s Association. A proclamation from the city.
One post office: Gulfport.
On December 13, the new owners of the Beach Bazaar, Angela and Biff Lagan, found out that they would get to keep the post office inside the eclectic shop on Beach Boulevard. Although the former owner of the Beach Bazaar, Bill Meredith, had a non-expiring contract with the United States Postal Service, the contract terminated if he sold the business.
“When we applied for a transfer [of the contract], technically it closed the old contract,” Ms. Lagan said. They had to submit a bid for the contract. A business in South Pasadena – the USPS wouldn’t tell them who – also bid on the contract.
Although the USPS didn’t tell the Lagans how they selected the winning bidder, the application packet garnered postal attention.
“They told us they’d never seen an application quite like ours,” Ms. Lagan said. The new contract, which stipulates that the Lagans pay a percentage of the postage sold to the USPS, will last forever or until the Lagans try and transfer it.
As a bonus, the post office will get an upgrade in February, Ms. Lagan said. The USPS has promised to spend $40,000 on a new counter, postage meters, scales and signs.
“It will be the latest and greatest,” she says.
The only thing still up in the air is whether or not the Beach Bazaar will get to keep the post office boxes. At press time, the Lagans remained in negotiations with the USPS over the boxes. The ability to sell stamps, mail packages, and send international mail, Ms. Lagan said, is official, adding that they planned to combine the postal counter with the Beach Bazaar checkstand.
“It will be a whole new post office,” she said.