by Grant Madden, EDN
T’is the season of holiday joy, office parties, and the inevitable shipment of packages across the country. The ten days before Christmas represent the busiest time of the year for shipping mail, and for the students at the University of Oregon, the wait for care packages from home recently became easier.
In January 2010, the United States Postal Service, as part of it’s $7 billion predicted loss, closed 491 branches across the United States. This included the annex at the University of Oregon which serviced the community of students and lecturers on campus.
The void left the campus to utilize the post offices either at East 18th Street or Willamette Street, both requiring a departure and a several-mile transit away from the grounds. Pak Mail on High Street is close to the campus, but with international rates nearly double the post office, this doesn’t seem to be the answer either.
Enter the UPS Store.
Recognizing the captive market of the U of O, a United Postal Services (UPS) franchise has moved on to campus, occupying the former space of the United States Postal Service. Not restricted by the overhead of unionized labor costs, the new UPS Store is able to offer almost the same branding of services as an official post office, in addition to their extensive line of services unique to the brown-colored trucks.
UPS acquired the national Mail Boxes Etc. chain in 2001, and rebranded the franchise businesses as The UPS Store outlets in 2003. There are now about 4,800 locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.
Students at the U of O will still have access to the traditional mail delivery, albeit at a price for the convenience of being on campus. A school-year lease on a mailbox will cost around $100, with an additional three months for free, to assist students that stay on campus through the summer break.
David Wigan, sophomore at the college, reports that having the UPS Store on campus is vital to him. Though he has a cell phone, this type of communication with his interstate family is important.
“With the store on-site, my mail comes and goes without me needing to walk downtown.” Wigan said.
These sentiments are supported from the other side of the counter by store manager, Ben Evans.
“The international students at the college probably represent one of our biggest markets. We haven’t missed a guaranteed delivery date since the doors first opened.” Evans said, “the business has been growing about 30% each month.”
As post offices across the country close, stores like the campus UPS Store #6258, continue to rise up, quite often in the same street address as former mail services. As a more convenient alternative to the United States Postal Service, with people who are more customer centric than their opposition, UPS Store’s have become a boom for niche markets like the student community of the U of O.
What can Brown do for UO? Almost everything you might expect in a central shipping location.
UPS Store #6258
1222 E 13the Ave
Erb Memorial Union Room M40
EUGENE, OR 97403