The Roman Catholic Church broke with long-standing tradition and selected the first ever South American Pope. The Republican Party, desperate to win back the White House, is now considering inclusion policies few considered even remotely possible, such as acceptance of gay marriage and women's rights (yes, you read it right). In Augusta, GA, relentlessly uncompromising golf officials, decided to grant Tiger Woods an unheard of "break" by not disqualifying him after a serious infraction - a controversial first in Masters tournament history that will be discussed for ages. These are significant changes made by organizations not known for flexibility.

    So with all of these goings on, I shouldn't have been so befuddled when I entered the UPS Store and discovered a veritable smorgasbord of shipping options including services from: FedEx, DHL, and the USPS. Admittedly, at first I was deeply confused. I thought, what's next? Dennis Rodman becomes ambassador to North Korea? Snookie appointed to lead Homeland Security? Something must be wrong here; after all, these companies hate each other. Now they are all represented under one roof?

    Enter Wolfgang Boernert, entrepreneur et al, new owner of the UPS Store (formerly Mail Boxes etc.), implementer of change and mastermind of this bold new endeavor. Boernert doesn't care what it says on the sign outside (it says UPS Store - I checked twice). "I will provide our customers with services from the shipping company of their choice, not ours. Sometimes customers require a service that is better provided by an alternative carrier, so we give them what they want," says this brave new adventurer calmly (as I carefully peruse the surrounding for hidden cameras). "For example, if someone wants to send a gift to a soldier protecting our country in Afghanistan, the USPS is the only option. We want to help facilitate that shipment."

    So why would someone choose the UPS Store to send US Mail? There are plenty of reasons, including extremely accommodating store hours: they're open until 7:30 p.m., and this benefits the USPS. My mind is racing; hmm . . . could this be a clever way for UPS to eventually take over the USPS? I continued to pry.

    Boernert states, "Sometimes delivery times can vary widely between UPS and FedEx". DHL, the largest worldwide carrier offers faster delivery times, sometimes by two or three days to dozens more countries when compared to both UPS and FedEx. So when it absolutely, positively, has to get to an international destination on time well you know the rest!

    "Our staff will do anything for our customers, such as: greet them in the parking lot in inclement weather (rain, sleet, or snow, etc.) to help carry a package inside. Then they'll seal it, tape it, prepare it for shipping and essentially do whatever else is needed to assure the recipient gets delivery safely and on time."
    Need a refrigerator or other gigantic item delivered to a relative or friend? No worries; they'll pick it up and deliver using UPS or FedEx freight services - whichever works best for the customer and costs the least. I continue to be astounded.

    Beyond traditional offerings, the UPS Store provides numerous business services including; instant email/text notification of inbound/arriving packages, finger printing, copying, printing, passport photos, 800 #s, web hosting, business cards, email accounts, and a lot more. It's an all-in-one service center for the small business and consumer that hardly resembles a place that just ships UPS packages.

    With so many choices, how do they know which carrier offers the best and least costly service? Boernert touts an investment he made in multi-carrier rating/routing software. "Now it only takes a few keystrokes to find the fastest and least costly service for our clients." This is "coopetition" at its finest!

    Stop in for a free cup of coffee or just great conversation. The only thing they don't do is make dinner. But I bet if you ask, they will. Change is coming fast in the shipping industry thanks to movers and shakers and those willing to put the customer first, like Wolfgang Boernert ,who proudly states; "We love logistics AND our customers!" The UPS Store located in Hackettstown New Jersey - it aint just UPS.

    I hope this information helps you Ship Better and Save Money.

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