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USPS says it's seeking new home for Oakville Post Office

The future of the Oakville Post Office – a fixture in the community since at least 1857 and currently located in a trailer behind Oakville Grocery – is in limbo. United States Postal Service officials said...

The future of the Oakville Post Office – a fixture in the community since at least 1857 and currently located in a trailer behind Oakville Grocery – is in limbo. United States Postal Service officials said this week the lease for the location has not been renewed. Property owner Jean-Charles Boisset said he commissioned plans to construct a new post office building on the site and has "asked the USPS to join us in this vision for the long-term improvement of our community."

The Oakville Post Office, which has served that unincorporated community for over 167 years, is looking for a new home.

A United States Postal Service spokesperson said this week that its Oakville station, located in a trailer behind Oakville Grocery, has lost its lease and must vacate the space.

“Unfortunately, the current building lease for the Oakville Post Office has not been renewed and we will be forced to relocate our operations,” said Sacramento USPS spokesperson Meiko Patton in an email. “We are currently looking for alternatives for our two employees and the 234 boxes they serve. We’ve been serving Oakville since 1867 and we are proud of our continued service to this community.”

Patton said the postal service was “unable” to release any details about the current leaseholder.

But in response to an inquiry from the Sun on Wednesday, property owner Jean-Charles Boisset said in a written statement that he had commissioned architectural plans for a permanent home for the post office on-site at Oakville Grocery “that harmoniously integrates the Post Office within Oakville Grocery’s landscape.”

Boisset wrote that what began as a temporary solution for the post office needs to be made permanent but with changes that make sense for the property and respect its historic significance.

According to a Napa County spokesperson, Boisset has submitted a request to “slightly increase the size of the approved but unbuilt post office building and move the location to the south of the previously approved area.”

The spokesperson said Boisset is also seeking a permit to add a 325-square foot outdoor kitchen building in an area where outdoor cooking equipment is already located.

“This initiative, undertaken at our own volition and expense, proposes a solution that promises to alleviate our communal conundrums of traffic and parking, while elevating the aesthetic and historical resonance of the Oakville township,”said Boisset in his statement. “It is with great hope that we extend this proposal to the USPS, inviting them to help create a permanent home on-site at the Oakville Grocery.

Responding to a follow-up text from the Sun, Patrick Egan, Boisset’s senior vice president of Marketing & Communications, said, “It is an ongoing discussion. We sent them the architectural plans and they needed more time to review. We extended the lease while they review their options.”

With the fate of the post office unknown, Oakville resident Mark Keala jumped in as part of a group attempting to keep it local. In an email campaign to rally support, Keala wrote that the Oakville Post Office “holds significant historical value and has been a lifeline for the community, including homeowners, grape growers, and winemakers for the past 167 years. Oakville boasts some of Napa County’s most renowned wineries, and its small post office is one of Napa Valley’s highest grossing offices – being particularly responsive and well suited to servicing the needs of the wine industries that surround it.”

“There’s speculation that the Oakville Post Office may merge with either the Yountville or Rutherford Post Offices,” Keala said in his email. “While proponents may argue that this would be a temporary measure, history shows that such consolidations often lead to a permanent closure of the merged post office. That could mean that Oakville would no longer have its own post office, zip code or presence; a presence well known and respected worldwide in the wine industry.”

Boisset, who owns several wineries and businesses throughout Napa and Sonoma counties, purchased Oakville Grocery and a historic Victorian on the site in 2018. Opened in 1881, Oakville Grocery is the oldest continually operated grocery store in the state.