The final touches are being added to the UPS Store at Canal Place.

by Dave Warner

The long-awaited United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) store inside the Inn at Stone Mill building at Canal Place will finally open its doors, Monday morning the 13th at 8 am. A few things have changed since those original ideas for the store were formulated.

Neil Rosenbaum with Rock City Development, LLC, said, “I think the integration with the Cafe and the 410 Collective in particular, has grown in sort of the richness of what Gail and Justin want to bring to the community.”

Mixing a coffee house and a post office is not a new idea, as coffeehouses served as “Penny Post Offices” in London around 1863. At that time, several coffeehouses collected mail and provided private boxes before the government got involved. When they did, the king laid claim as a royal prerogative, and taxes were then collected. Soon, there were no longer any “Penny Post Offices.”

In fact, the famous Lloyd’s of London began as Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse.

“It was very common to have sort of a coffee shop and a place to mail things, so it kind of harkens back to the era when this building was built,” said Rosenbaum. The Inn at Stone Mill building was built in 1839.

The thing that is beyond the expectations that the group had are the phone calls they are receiving regarding Amazon returns.

“The fact that you won’t have to drive 40 minutes to take your Amazon return to a drop off location is huge. In fact, when you indicate that you want to return something to  Amazon and you get your label, they will give our address as the place to drop it off,” he said.

In a lot of cases, you might get multiple items in a shipment from Amazon, but only be returning one or two things. “So in many cases, people might need things packaged. I think this is probably a bigger deal than we thought,” stated Rosenbaum.

UPS forecasted a record National Returns Day, Jan 2, 2020, with 1.9 million returns expected, up 26% from last year.  UPS also did a study that found that 73% of online shoppers base their decision to make another purchase from a retailer based on the return experience.

Rock City Development also ended up buying a production publishing machine for the store that can duplicate, do 12×18 copies, fold, bind, and staple items. “We can do booklets, pamphlets, and we can do 11×17 and then fold it and staple it. It also has finishing with a large paper capacity that allows you to do things that a print shop could do,” he said.

The spec that they had originally looked at when designing the store would have just done copies. “Because there isn’t anything in the area, we decided to step up and invest more in the machine so that we can do more. We’re really excited about it.”

The UPS Store will also have corporate accounts available for companies so that they can get billed on a monthly basis.

Raechel Frink is going to be the manager of the new UPS Store and she said, “My first training for this was in July, then October, and finally November. I’m really ready for this.”

“This is something that’s going to bring more people into the community because they’re traveling at least a half an hour in either direction to get to another UPS Store. This is just going to bring more people into the area, which is good,” she said.

She said, “I grew up thinking that UPS just picked up your package and that’s what UPS is. But now I’m finding out that we can do business cards, flyers, posters, and banners. I also saw the things that we’re able to ship and how we ship them is just crazy.”

They have cross-trained staff so that they can work at either the Cafe or the UPS Store. “We’re also getting very close to building out the location for the Pizza shop. I think we’ll start that at the end of this month and it should be ready by the end of March,” stated Rosenbaum.

The grant the company just received will also help in finishing out the co-working space that is planned on the first level, as well as access to the fourth floor, which will be developed later.

Rosenbaum said, “The biggest change is, that it is actually happening.”

The UPS Store will open on January 13, 2020. The hours will be from 8 am until 6:30 pm Monday thru Friday, Saturday 9 am until 5 pm and Sunday, from 11 am until 4 pm.