By Jeff Wells

Globe Staff Writer

SARCOXIE, Mo. - With chips, dip, balloons and a new postmaster, the Sarcoxie Post Office reopened Friday after being closed for five months.

A portion of the post office's roof collapsed following an October rainstorm. Postal workers temporarily set up shop in the neighboring Gene Taylor Community Building, but they say its quarters were cramped and they are happy to be back in the post office, 216 N. Fifth St.

The office staged a customer-appreciation day Friday to mark the reopening.

"I think it looks great," said Sarcoxie resident Loyd Vinson while shipping some packages Friday afternoon. "It is quite an improvement over where they were. It's so much cleaner and brighter."

Postal service officials also swore-in Sarcoxie resident Christy Chandler as the town's new postmaster. Chandler, who previously worked as a customer service supervisor at the Monett Post Office, says she's glad that she won't have to drive so far to work. She replaces Stan Garber, who retired in December.

In the temporary space, the mail clerks handed customers mail from their post office boxes by hand. Chandler said that most customers remembered to bring their post office box keys with them on Friday.

"Everybody is real pleased with the building and being able to come and get their mail anytime they want," she said.

Postal workers are still moving equipment into the repaired and renovated space. Glorinda Chapman, post office sales and service associate, said she was happy to be working in the cleaner and brighter space, but said, "It's kind of bittersweet for me though."

Chapman is transferring to the Monett Post Office in two weeks.

Chandler said she did not have an estimate on how much the repairs cost.

The Sarcoxie Post Office serves 450 customers with post office boxes and 1,034 customers on carrier routes.

The post office will now open 15 minutes earlier and close 15 minutes later. The new hours are 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

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