The post office, located in Historic Downtown Richmond and owned by Jessie and Helen Mata, is more than just a post office, and any one who has visited it lately knows, it is a busy place these days.
According to Jesse Mata, the original post office for the area was located in what is now Sandy McGees, and called the PO Pharmacy. Then in the 1940s, the post office moved across the street from City Hall, then it moved again, by Wal-mart, near the library, where it is today.
“My post office has also been the Economy Store and a restaurant with a full kitchen in the back. Then it was a 5 and Dime Store until 1995 and that is when we purchased the building,” Mata said.
When entering the post office on Morton Street, there is an antique post office window and wall which came from S. Dakota, and mailboxes along the back wall are from the original Richmond post office.
“When the post master of a S. Dakota post office died, and the post office closed, the widow posted the interior items of the post office on the internet and I bought this window and post office wall. It is an antique and beautiful. The family just wanted it to have a good home, which it does now. If it had been one inch higher or one inch wider, it would not have fit. After it was delivered and installed, the family from S. Dakota came to see it, and took many many photos,” Mata said.
In the back of the post office, there is another antique post office window complete with additional mailboxes, which came from a small town in Texas, and now serves as a divider wall for an office.
Jesse Mata is a well-known face in Richmond, as he makes his rounds two or three times a day delivering mail to the 850 who have mailboxes at the his post office.
“A lot of people come in with their boxes to ship, unwrapped, with the address it is going to on a piece of paper and they leave it for me. When I come in, I wrap, address and make sure they get out either through FedEx or Lone Star or regular mail, whatever the note left for me says. Then a ay or so later, they dropped by and pay me. This is a community post office, and we provide many services. Because I make rounds throughout the day, most of those with mailboxes here have never been to this post office,” Mata said.
Yet, anyone who has dropped by the post office lately, might be missing out on some things.
“There is a gift store in the back which people come by and drop off items to sale. There is also jewelry and kitchen wares and all types of things,” Mata said.
Carolyn Covarrubio, a Richmond residents who owns Grandma B’s, located in the post office, utilizes the commercial kitchen in the back, to cook up sweets such as her well-known cup cakes, cookies, wedding and specialty cakes, and her best selling pumpkin roll.
“I am addicted to her cup cakes, so I have to drop by all the time,” said Patty Fennley, Katy resident.
According to Covarrubio, many people say they do not care for pumpkin anything. But when they taste my pumpkin roll they usually change their mind. Mine is like a spice cake, with cream cheese filling and is rolled into a log. Once people try it, they become regular customers. Another customer favorite is her almond icing, which she uses instead of butter icing for cakes.
“One of our favorites for kids of all ages is our cookie bucket, which a colorful bucket filled with cookies on a stick and decorated with colorful icing. People use these as center pieces, sporting events, children’s birthdays or just to send to someone for fun,” Covarrubio said.
Covarrubio also uses her creative talents to design wreaths, mums for homecoming, boutonnieres, eatable themed fruit baskets and more.
Covarrubio has been cooking up sweets for over 20 years, and enjoys the creativity involved.
“People know when they place an order, when they come to pick it up, it will be fresh and ready on time. When we say fresh, we mean fresh, as in, we just took it out of the oven fresh. We make sure that all we offer are items people are proud to serve at their wedding or special event,” Covarrubio said.
On the opposite side from Jesse’s post office window, near the front, visitors and patrons entering the store will more than likely see Susan Dudley, who owns Richmond Tailor and Alterations, hard at work.
“The woman who was here before me was from Russia, she did a great job and all who came in helped her learn English. I bought the business from her two years ago. Business is good and I too enjoy seeing all my customers come in and getting to know them, as I care for their sewing needs,” Dudley said.
Dudley, also a Richmond resident, has been sewing since she was 8, out of necessity.
“My mother even made all of mine and my three siblings clothing and coats. I had my first purchased coat when I was in 8th grade, and I still have it today,” Dudley said.
Along the way, and throughout her 31 year marriage, there have been sewing classes to stay abreast of the latest equipment and techniques.
“I offer tailoring and alterations for all items including jeans, bridesmaid dresses, wedding dresses, daily clothes, Halloween costumes, custom pillows and drapes, and a little bit of everything,” Dudley said.
Turn around time is usually about a week or two weeks if it is not a rush job. Dudley also takes rush jobs, which can be turned around in one to three days, depending on the what needs to be altered or tailored. Prices vary, again, depending on the item and requested service.
Dudley noted, she loves the old time feel of the shop and downtown Richmond, and listening to the stories of those who come in.
Also near the front of the store are jewelry counters, filled with specialty candles and many other tempting items.
“When I come to the store, I usually browse for while, this is such an interesting place, so many interesting things to look at, but most of all, I wait on the cup cakes,” Fennley said.
The Jesse and Helen Mata Post Office is located at 310 Morton Street, Richmond, Texas. For more information, please call 281-341-1845.