As an eBay seller, I depend heavily on the UPS Store for major parts of my part-time business, so I was alarmed to hear the other night that my local UPS Store is struggling.
I've become friends with the store owners over the last several years, and after dropping off some packages the other night, we began talking about the economy and the financial crisis.
It turns out their UPS franchise is paid off but they are struggling with cash flow issues due to a drop-off in business. The costs of equipment leases, rent, and employee salaries remain the same even as sales fall.
Christmas is typically their busiest time, and with consumers tightening their belts and shipping fewer packages, they're worried about what the holiday season has in store for them.
I would be sad to see their UPS Store close not just due to the personal relationships but also because they provide me with some valuable services.
I prepay my UPS box fees every year in return for a price discount. Not only do I have money sunk into the rental of the mailbox, changing my business address would require a large investment of time on my part. My bank statements, tax forums, legal documents, and commission checks all come to that address, so I would have a lot of work to do if my mailbox no longer existed.
The store owners help me out with estimating shipping costs for and packaging the wide variety of items I sell. They treat their customers well, and more than once they've entertained my son while I boxed up a pile of merchandise to ship.
Many times when I've sold something for local pickup, it is difficult to find a time to meet with the buyer due to busy work schedules. The store owners have been great; I drop off the item at the UPS Store on the way to work. The buyer stops in when it's convenient for them, leaves an envelope with the payment and picks up their purchase.
I'm pretty sure many other small-business owners in our area likely have similar stories to share about this UPS Store. If they were to go out of business thanks to the credit crisis, their absence would be felt by many small businesses, and the ripple effect of the financial mess would continue.
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