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Fair exchanges

Events help meet passport demand

Passports story
Retail Associate Bill Roche helps a customer complete her passport application during a recent fair at the Fort Carson, CO, Post Office.

Post Offices across the nation are holding passport fairs to generate revenue and help an influx of customers prepare for their summer travels.

Many offices are extending their hours to meet rising demand.

The Medford, OR, Post Office held an appointment-only passport fair on a recent Sunday, while the Westfield, NJ, Post Office planned a Memorial Day fair.

“We figured that doing it on a holiday where we can focus 100 percent on passports instead of also trying to service the regular mailing customers was our best bet at success and increasing our revenue stream,” said Westfield Postmaster Frank Pace.

Passports are a growing business for USPS, which accepted more than 5.9 million applications last year, up almost 11 percent from 2015.

Not all fairs are occurring at USPS facilities. For example, the Charlotte, NC, Post Office held a fair on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University.

“It’s refreshing to see all these young people,” said Retail Associate Deloris Chisley. “They’re so excited about traveling to places they’ve never been and learning about different cultures.”

Meanwhile, Greater Indiana District held a fair at a naturalization ceremony in Indianapolis, where customer Gina Ritter, originally from the Philippines, expressed her appreciation for USPS.

“This is a very exciting day for me,” she said.

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