The Ceres Post Office on Mitchell Road has turned 30 years old this year.
Ed Lucero was postmaster when the facility opened back in 1988, replacing the smaller post office where today’s Ceres Library is located. While the facility is not as large as Modesto’s newest station, the Hudson station, it has plenty of room to grow to accommodate a Ceres larger than its current 48,000 residents.
Lee Hoskins, the current postmaster since 2008, said the facility has served Ceres well and likely will for many more years.
“Our box section is probably bigger than Hudson’s so with that it’s probably going to be a lot more until we get a new post office,” said Hoskins.
By contrast, at a population of 214,221, Modesto has three post office facilities.
Approximately 40 employees work out of the building, which is owned by the United States Postal Service. They include clerks, carriers, managers and custodians.
“Back in the day we were leasing and now we are buying,” said Hoskins.
Mail deliveries to Ceres homes largely depend on when the trucks arrive from the Sacramento Mail Facility. A traffic snarl or accident on Highway 99 can delay the arrival of trucks and late delivery of mail in Ceres. Hoskins noted that the seasonal flood of political mailers caused mail to be delivered later in the past weeks.
“Normally this building is empty at 9 o’clock (in the morning). They’re all out delivering and then they usually come back between 2:30 and 3:30 on the average day.”
Hoskins said the biggest complaint registered at his post office is the appearance of the grounds.
“We’ve had some turnover, we had two people retire who were in it and then they retired. They were postal employees. There are jobs they can bid on. Sometimes they bid on it but when they’re in (the job) it’s more than they anticipated. Not having anybody to do it has been the issue. We’ve got unions so I can’t make anybody do. They’ve got somebody but now we’re trying to maintain it inside and out. I had two people – now they only give me one (for landscaping).”
Hoskins said when the Stanislaus County Schools built its Institute of Learning/Tactical Character Academy (TCA) to the south of the post office, the snakes were displaced and found refuge on the post office property. The post office removed the ground cover because snakes found shelter in it. The sprinkler system was in disrepair but Hoskins said repairs were made.
“They want me to plant some plants and bushes and shrubs,” said Hoskins. “We had some homeless people sleeping along the wall; that’s why we cut the bushes out, so we could see them. It’s just a major problem everywhere so we have to sweep the area pretty much daily, like around the sides of the building. That’s why we have auto locking doors now because they were inside the lobby.”
The lobby locks at 6 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. on the weekend.
Postmasters in the Mitchell Road facility have included Chris Geary and Ed Lucero.