Holmes Beach Post Office changes hands

HB post office staff
Diana Rowe and Linda Bell join forces with new proprietor Laura Ritter to help keep the Holmes Beach Post Office operating at its current location, 5354 Gulf Drive. -Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH — The Holmes Beach Post Office is open regular hours and the new proprietor is seeking new ways to help meet the needs of the community.

The search for a new operator went almost to the 11th hour with the community anxiously awaiting the fate of the contract post office location. Holmes Beach resident Laura Ritter, with the help of friends Diana Row and Linda Bell, along with long-time postal employee Sue Phillips, stepped up to the challenge.

“I wanted to help save the post office to maintain the services for the community,” Ritter said. “There’s a real sense of community here.”

Though Ritter, who manages advertising at the Longboat Observer, said she has no experience in the postal service, she’s excited to learn from Phillips, who’s been with the Holmes Beach Post Office for nine years.

“There’s a routine here,” Phillips said of the post office. Her hope is that by staying on, she can assist Ritter with learning the ins and outs of the postal business and provide some continuity for customers.

Rowe, a commercial real estate agent from Atlanta who recently relocated permanently to Holmes Beach, is excited to assist Ritter with the new venture.

“We really just wanted to save the post office,” she said.

In addition to offering postal services, Ritter said she would like to offer other needed services to the community in lieu of a gift shop in the front section of the location. Ideas she’s currently considering are offering business and tourism services including high-volume printing services, area information and internet service. She said it’s important to her to use the space to offer services the community feels are needed without trying to compete with existing businesses.

To help gauge community interest, Ritter said she’s like to have input from residents and visitors. “Tell us what you want services you want,” she said.

The Holmes Beach Post Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.