Franchise Stores Do Well Despite Hard Times
(FRISCO, TX) (JANUARY X, 2012) – Be forewarned: If you think rural America can’t be home to a thriving, competitive and highly successful business, spend some time with Mark and Cheri Smith, Postal Connections of America (PCA) franchise owners, residing in St. Johns, Michigan, that boasts a population of nearly 6,300. The declining economy, fluctuating gas prices and high unemployment rates have created the perfect storm — in a good way — where PCA stores in small towns can seize new opportunities and flourish.
Opening in mid-2007, the Smith’s store is surrounded by a half dozen other small towns and draws customers from as far as 40 miles away. Besides the usual pack and ship operations, their PCA store also does a brisk ink cartridge business that serves as a great profit center for them.
“We are the only pack and ship game in town so we can offer our customers the convenience of having a wide choice of shippers at competitive prices,” says Mark Smith. “But what really sets us apart is our customer service – we know our customers by name and tailor our services to best meet their needs—that’s what keeps them coming back.”
The same can be said for Don and Sue Harteloo, PCA franchise owners in Stayton, Oregon. It is a community just 14 miles south of Salem with a population of approximately 7,800. The Harteloos opened their PCA store in the early 2000’s and plan to open another location in the small community of Silverton, just a few miles northeast of their current store.
“I grew up in a small town so I have a real comfort level living and working in this environment,” explains Don Harteloo. “Exceptional customer service is at the heart of our business plus we stay very connected with the community by supporting local groups and charities such as the YMCA, our library and schools.”
“The Smiths and the Harteloos are excellent examples of how a family business with strong small town roots can translate into a highly successful business operation,” says Fred Morache, director and owner of PCA.
The Smith’s franchise ranks 10th and the Harteloo’s ranks 5th in the PCA nationwide network in terms of overall sales volume. The franchise network’s number one, two and three volume stores are in mid-sized cities and midtown Manhattan.
“Our PCA concept is ideal for small towns and communities because our emphasis is on customer care – a concept that is the very essence of rural America,” said Morache. “Personalized customer service is stressed in our marketing and training programs and, as a company, we’ve invested a great deal in bringing “Disney World” techniques to our customer care system.
According to Morache, PCA stores offer many product lines that are hard to find in small towns such as ink cartridge sales and domestic and international shipping options. PCA frequently introduces new product lines and gives its franchisees the flexibility to add new items making it more than a pack and ship store. One of PCA’s newest revenue generators is Media Trader, a unique and proprietary software that enables customers to sell old movies, music (on CD’s & DVD’s), video game boxes and text books for cash. The PCA store then posts the items on Amazon.com, sells them for a profit and creates a revenue stream for the customer and the store. In an age where items such as text books and videos are constantly being updated, using Media Tracker to recycle old technology and books can generate a substantial profit center.
The Postal Connections of America store operated by Mark and Cheri Smith is located at 800 South US Highway 27, St. Johns, MI 48879. Phone: 989-224-0000. The Postal Connections of America store operated by Don and Sue Harteloo is located at 1740 Shaff Rd., Stayton, OR 97383. Phone: 503-767-7447. Beside Oregon and Michigan, other small town Postal Connections can be found in Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.
About Postal Connections of America:
Postal Connections is a growing franchise chain of postal, shipping and business services stores, with its newest stores in Orland Park IL, Vero Beach FL, and Modesto CA. Stores operate to make life easier for people on-the-go and small businesses by offering shipping alternatives, packaging, freight, printing and copies, mail receiving, inkjet, toner and laser cartridges, notary, fax, and a unique variety of online buying and selling services.
Postal Connections of America is a network of 50franchise stores nationwide and is a sister-chain with 20 iSold It on eBay stores. The franchises are headquartered in Frisco, TX and can be found at www.postalconnections.com and www.877isoldit.com or call 1-800 POSTALS (767-8257).