If you do any business on the east side of Capitol Hill, chances are you’re familiar with Ed Zhang, the longtime Capitol Hill merchant and owner of Postal Plus. You may have also noticed that over recent weeks, Zhang has left his usual post behind the shop’s cluttered counter.
Instead, Nathan Angel has been at the helm, managing the shop for Zhang. Angel is the son of Raymond Angel, who is the longtime owner of Postal Plus neighbor Angel’s Shoe Repair.
According to Angel, Zhang moved to San Diego this summer to become a principal of a Chinese language school. Zhang still owns the shop, but Angel said he has no immediate plans to return to Seattle.
Angel told CHS he initially offered to buy the shop, something Zhang also wanted, but USPS told Angel he should reconsider. “The postal service basically talked me out of it,” he said.
USPS pays a flat fee to the business, Angel said, which accounts for a substantial part of Postal Plus’s income. Given the dwindling financial sustainability of USPS, Nathan said the postal service advised him that buying the business would not be a good idea.
While Zhang still owns the business, Angel said he was confident the shop would be open at least through the holidays, the busiest time for USPS. With the 23rd and Union post office shuttering, Angel said the neighborhood desperately needs a place like Postal Plus.
“If the postal service hears from a lot of people saying they need this place, they might keep it,” he said. “If not, let’s make (Postal Plus) community run — why not?” he said
The upstairs office above Postal Plus is currently empty and Angel said he’s interested finding a tenant to help make ends meet. Another idea, closer to Angel’s interests, is to open his own computer repair shop within Postal Plus.
With things as chaotic as ever in D.C. and USPS services continually on the chopping block, the mail resources long taken for granted are being cut back, pared down and optimized. The Broadway post office is slated to continue serving the neighborhood but carriers and trucks have been transitioned to another facility in a cost cutting measure.
Meanwhile, Angel’s Shoe Repair has been operating in Seattle for a whopping 101 years, with 71 of those on Capitol Hill. Angel Sr. says he’s in semi-retirement but has no plans to close the shop.