BUCKTOWN — The abrupt closing of a 5-month-old package holding and delivery service has left its customers in a lurch, with their goods locked in a storefront and unable to be retrieved.
General manager Sean Khokhar confirmed on Sunday that The New Post, 1714 N. Damen Ave., has closed “due to staffing issues and a lack of funding.”
“The platform we were working on didn’t come out to what we wanted. I can’t be there all the time anymore,” said Khokhar, who was the only onsite employee.
Andrew Sobko, the owner of The New Post, referred requests for comment on Monday to John Karvelas, an advisor to The New Post.
“It didn’t make sense, we couldn’t get it to fly, we were losing money and decided to shut it down. We will put up a sign there today saying we are closed and give a number, so people can get their packages,” said Karvelas, adding, “The number one thing is making sure everyone gets their packages.”
Karvelas said there are somewhere between 30-40 packages waiting to be picked up.
A Wicker Park resident and customer of The New Post who asked not to be named said he tried to pick up a package on 5:30 p.m. Friday after work but The New Post was closed. The New Post’s operating hours posted online list the closing time Fridays as 11 p.m.
And when the same package for the resident arrived at The New Post earlier in the week, it was returned to sender because no one was there to accept it, the resident said.
“They don’t know what packages they have. Totally clueless and lost my stuff. Tried to give me a package for a Jennifer and thought it was me,” said the customer.
Khokhar was also previously the general manager for Doorman, a San Francisco-based startup similar to The New Post that was brought back by Khokhar under a new name and with funding from Sobko, who had not been part of Doorman.
Both Doorman and The New Post help customers to schedule personalized package deliveries so they don’t have to face missing daytime deliveries and theft. The New Post charges a monthly membership fee for packages sent to its storefront, with three tiers based on how many packages are expected (the lowest tier is $19/month for up to 10 delivered packages and two storefront visits).
Customers can get their packages delivered by The New Post at a time when they are home or pick up the packages themselves.
Khokhar started working at Doorman in 2016, when it opened in Bucktown after relocating from the West Loop. While Doorman closed all of its locations in the fall because it wasn’t profitable enough for investors, Khokhar decided to launch The New Post in Chicago because he said the service was doing well in Chicago. He brought on Sobko as an owner to keep the venture alive.
When The New Post launched in March, it had ambitious plans. Eventually, Khokhar had said he wanted The New Post to use autonomous cars and drones to get packages to customers.
Khokhar described The New Post as kind of like “a holding house” for packages, safer than a doorstep. He said the name The New Post refers to the U.S. Post Office and wanting to be “the new post office.”
“The U.S. Post Office has lost numerous packages and they weren’t equipped when the whole e-commerce thing really started two years ago. It is very hard for them to change; they are like a big dinosaur. We are a younger company and we listen to what customer pain points are. Customers want better technology and better customer service,” he previously said.