Rick and Denise Wheeler own Drive-Thru Postal on East Riverside Drive, where customers take care of their day-to-day business such as shipping packages, getting a document notarized or picking up mail at a mailbox they rent.
The business, located at 1712 E. Riverside Drive, is set to close on June 1. Rick Wheeler said the property was placed in a trust, and the trustee has asked him to move out by that date. At age 62, he said he is ready to retire, but as the community deals with the devastating economic challenges caused by the coronavirus, he wants to stay open a little longer to help his customers until life returns to normal.
Wheeler said he has about 300 to 400 mailbox holders at Drive-Thru Postal, many of whom will be receiving stimulus checks from the federal government over the next few months as part of the CARES Act enacted by U.S. Congress. If his customers do not have bank information on file with the Internal Revenue Service, they may be receiving a paper check to their mailbox, and Wheeler is pushing hard to stay for those customers so they can have access to those funds.
“This is not the time to find a new mailbox,” he said.
As an essential business, Drive-Thru Postal remains open under the stay-at-home orders put in place by the city and county that have closed many area businesses and slowed economic activity to a crawl in order to keep residents safe and save the hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by an influx of coronavirus patients.
Wheeler said he has been in touch with his local Austin City Council Member, Pio Renteria, and has reached out to Mayor Steve Adler and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett as well. A change.org petition has been signed by 337 people, but Wheeler said he knows there is not much he can do. He said he is not angry with the trustee, who is “just doing his job,” but hopes the move-out date can be flexible.
According to Travis Central Appraisal District records, the property on which Drive-Thru Postal sits is valued at $854,000 and is owned by a company called Morrison-Moore Properties Ltd., which shares an office address with Austin Trust Company at 336 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 100. An email inquiry to Austin Trust Company was not returned as of publishing time. Wheeler said he is not sure what the plans are for the property once he moves out.
Owner of soon-to-close Drive-Thru Postal on East Riverside asks to stay open longer so customers can collect federal stimulus checks
Drive-Thru Postal, located at 1712 E. Riverside Drive, is set to close on June 1. (Courtesy Google Street View)