Many continue traditional mid-week closing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Closed for the day

While Idland and her fellow Greenville florists all opt to close either full or half days on Wednesdays, she believes the very nature of the floral business makes their situation unique.

&uot;When something is going on in our world that needs our attention as florists, we are there to take care of it, whether it’s Wednesday, Sunday or whenever…you could say we are basically ‘on call,’&uot; she explained.

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Mickey Tubbs of Color Mart Rentals said his business has opted to close on Wednesday afternoons as a money-saving measure.

&uot;We took a look back over the years at business and decided it just wasn’t cost-effective for us to stay open,&uot; he said.

&uot;Plus, everybody else is closed.&uot;

Maud Sims of Murphy Clothing Company notes the ladies clothing shop now stays open on Saturday afternoons for their customers but remains closed on Wednesday afternoons.

&uot;We’ve always done it that way-and, yes, we do enjoy that break on Wednesdays,&uot; she said. &uot;You need your weekends to get houses and yards in shape, spend time with family-so we would certainly miss that mid-week break.&uot;

Banker’s hours?

One sore point for many local citizens, including a number of downtown merchants, seems to be the dearth of banking services available downtown on Wednesday afternoons.

The two downtown banks, Peoples and Whitney, close both their downtown locations and bypass branch locations on Wednesday afternoons. When questioned, bank employees said their understanding concerning the closings was that is primarily due to the city’s long-standing tradition of closing half days on Wednesdays.

&uot;I’m one of those people who doesn’t like that,&uot; said Jo Weitman of the Martin House.

&uot;I guess when you have lived somewhere else and then move here, these limited banker’s hours seem like such an inconvenience.&uot;

Idland agrees.

&uot;I really don’t understand why both locations of some of our banks close on Wednesdays,&uot; Idland said.

Several banks in Greenville do keep their lobbies and drive-throughs open on Wednesdays.

However, all that do so are located in the Greenville Bypass area.

BancCorpSouth, Colonial Bank and the newly opened Greenville branch of First Lowndes Bank are all open on Wednesday afternoons.

&uot;I don’t think there was ever a question of whether or not we would be open for business [on Wednesday afternoons]-that was something we decided early on,&uot; said Allen Bowen, branch manager of First Lowndes Bank. &uot;We believe we have customers who happen to need our services on Wednesday afternoons just as they do any other weekday afternoon.&uot;

All the local banks do have 24-hour ATMS for customers wanting to check balances, transfer funds and withdraw cash.

Please, Mr. Postman

Another bone of contention in the arena of half-day closings is the local postal facility’s decision to shut down at noon each Wednesday.

&uot;We close because everything else closes,&uot; explained postal employee Jane Godwin. &uot;It’s always been the practice to close at noon on both Wednesdays and Saturdays. We did try staying open until 1 p.m. for a while on Wednesdays but there just wasn’t enough traffic to merit doing so.&uot;

Dunklin dislikes the post office’s closing practice.

&uot;The post office closing is one of my pet peeves,&uot; he said. &uot;I just don’t think it-or the courthouse, for that matter-should be closing down on Wednesday afternoons.&uot;

Another local citizen, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she was &uot;infuriated&uot; recently when she dashed to the post office on her Wednesday lunch break, only to discover it was closed.

&uot;It’s just ridiculous,&uot; she said. &uot;How come little post offices like Forest Home, Honoraville and Chapman stay open all day Wednesdays while the city post office closes?&uot;

According to the standards set by the U.S. Postal Service, the Greenville office is perfectly within its rights to close its doors on Wednesday afternoons if it so chooses, Honoraville postmistress Lorrie Cothran said.

&uot;Each individual post office is its own entity; it chooses its own hours and closes at its own discretion,&uot; Cothran explained.

She admits she, too, has always wondered why the city office doesn’t stay open on Wednesdays.

&uot;I would think it would be a good source of revenue for them if they did,&uot; Cothran said.

A taxing problem

While state offices located in the county courthouse remain open all day on Wednesdays, many county offices lock their doors at noon each week.

&uot;As long as I’ve been in office, as long as I can remember, actually, it’s just always been like that,&uot; noted Butler County Tax Assessor Carolyn Middleton. &uot;We have opened some on Saturday mornings in the past when we had such a busy time with everybody coming in for their car tags, but since we changed to the alphabetical system, we no longer need to do that.&uot;

The courthouse closings are not popular with local business people, either.

&uot;I see a real problem with the fact the courthouse closes on both Wednesdays and Saturdays, Bob Foster said. &uot;People are having to take time off from work to conduct their business there and that just isn’t right.&uot;

Idland said attempts have been made to get more to remain open.

&uot;About a year ago a group of us from Main Street approached the downtown banks, the post office and the courthouse about staying open on Wednesdays, but no one was particularly receptive to the idea,&uot; explained Idland. &uot;There are some changes in management in those areas and maybe things would be different now. I do know from past experience it’s hard to change things here in Greenville.

Idland said the change is needed.

&uot;I know everyone likes having his or her Wednesday afternoons off,&uot; she said. &uot;But I think we have to ask ourselves whether or not it’s time to move Greenville into the 21st century.