During the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Tim Toomey owned a locksmith business on the Island. He was also involved in planning several capital projects in and around downtown Edgartown. One of these was the construction of a new visitor center on Church street, with a post office and public restrooms.

Once the facility was built, the only question that remained was who would operate and maintain it.

The town put the position out for bid and there were no takers. A second posting received the same result. Then Mr. Toomey was approached by one of his best friends, T. Curry Jones, who suggested he and his wife Dunia try their hand at it.

“I went over to Church street daily for a week or so to do a market study which involved sitting on the curb with tourists and seeing who came and went,” Mr. Toomey said.

Tim and Dunia met while Tim was on vacation in Costa Rica. — Ray Ewing

He watched tour buses carry droves of tourists and the beloved “chicken bus” take day-trippers to South Beach.

“There seemed to be just enough movement to make us think that the idea might be viable and we agreed to sign on.”

Tim was right, there was enough traffic to sustain a business. For nearly 30 years he and his wife have been the smiling faces greeting the community of Islanders and tourists at the combination visitor center/post office.

But this April the couple plans to retire.

“I feel it’s time for us to let it be and ride into the sunset,” Mr. Toomey said. “Edgartown has been wonderful to us. I can’t say enough about how good the town has been to us as a family growing up here, living here and as small business people.”

Tim grew up in Vermont; Dunia in Costa Rica. The couple met when Tim went to Costa Rica for a vacation. They stayed in touch, eventually got married and moved to the Vineyard.

“I didn’t even know this Island existed and I came straight from Costa Rica to Martha’s Vineyard,” Ms. Toomey said.

For their first summer on the Island, they lived in what is now the lifeguard building at South Beach.

“It was quite an experience,” Mr. Toomey remembered.

The visitor center officially opened for business in 1992. With their son Patrick on staff, the Toomeys sold bus tickets, snacks and bottles of water to the large crowds that passed through every summer day. For 20 years the family managed the entire business but then handed off the visitor center duties to the Vineyard Transit Authority and focused on the post office.

“That was our favorite part of it,” Mr. Toomey said. “We got to know a lot about people and they got to know a lot about us and we ended up really liking each other. A lot of these people are my favorite people.”

Mr. Toomey said running a small post office has its perks, like having the time to talk to customers and no huge rush to get a long line of people their packages.

Last year, just before the pandemic hit, Mr. Toomey traveled to Costa Rica and couldn’t get back.

“I went down for a short vacation and then all of a sudden there was no flight back to the Vineyard,” he said.

From March to October, Ms. Toomey was by herself at the post office.

“It was tough. It was one of the reasons we knew it was time,” she said.

Ms. Toomey acknowledged the community in helping her get through the difficult period, as well as during their career on Church street.

“It’s quite amazing all the things you trust people with and we go through together,” she said. “It’s been a great thing but it’s time.”

After the Toomeys’ final day of work in early April, the VTA will staff and maintain the Church street post office.

The Toomeys are thankful to the town for offering them the opportunity to operate the center.

“It’s why Edgartown is so special,” Mr. Toomey said. “It’s really worked out well for us and well for the town.”