'It's Christmas every day': Happy Valley-Goose Bay post offices expanding to absorb boom in online sales

1 / 6
'It's Christmas every day': Happy Valley-Goose Bay post offices expanding to absorb boom in online sales

The Christmas-like rush of packages arriving in Happy Valley-Goose Bay hasn't slowed down, despite the holiday being over — and that means expansions for the town's post offices to make room for all those boxes.

"It's Christmas every day here," said Jackie Goudie, who has worked at the post office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay since 2002.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay acts as a delivery hub for all of the mail arriving in Labrador.

Every day of December saw record volumes of parcels and it hasn't let up, according to Joe Tremblett, the local superintendent. 

Tremblett said on an average day, between the town's two post offices, workers process about 1,200 packages.

"We knew we had to expand here because we just didn't have the space," Tremblett said, adding the population increase after work began at Muskrat Falls also contributed to the demand for additional space.

Tremblett said the number of packages arriving daily amounted to a safety concern in the old area.

The facility has added 1,900 square feet to one of its post offices, known as Station B, to alleviate the squeeze. An expansion to Station C is planned for later this year.

"We were getting a tractor trailer full of things every day so we had to work around … now, it's great we have lots of room," said Tremblett.

Station B has also added a new way for people to get packages, which will take some pressure off the staff working the counter. Customers who get packages will find a key in their mail slots for a larger post box with the package inside – instead of a card to go get their delivery from the counter.

"Convenience is what it means for the customers," said Tremblett.

Mega-retailers driving package boom

A quick glance at the boxes piled up in the back of the post office shows it's two merchandise juggernauts that are the main driving forces in the volume of packages.

"All Amazon and Walmart, mostly, that's the bread and butter of Canada Post," said Kirk Hanrahan, a 25-year Canada Post worker said. 

"We don't have to work out any time or go to the gym."

The black and blue tape of Amazon Prime is noticeable everywhere in the warehouse. For a $79 annual fee, the company will ship many items, at an expedited rate, to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador City. 

Walmart also ships for a modest $10 fee to some of the smaller communities along the South Coast, even isolated Black Tickle, for orders of large volume items, like diapers and toilet paper. 

"Most things you can't get here so you have to order it online," said Tremblett.

"It's definitely a lifeline ... We're getting to be the modern marketplace."