It was October 2006 and Carmen Medeiros, recently unemployed, was driving down Gooding Avenue in Bristol when she spotted The UPS Store. She pulled in, spoke with one of the owners and walked out with a job. Twelve years later, Medeiros assumed the mantle of ownership when she purchased the franchise. The daughter of Portuguese immigrants and a graduate of Mt. Hope High School, where she was a state soccer goalie standout, Medeiros knows the value of hard work. Coupled with her focus on customer service, she’s attracted a loyal customer base from around the East Bay.
Journey to Ownership: The store had opened two weeks prior to my being hired. Everyone was green. We learned a lot of things together. Within three to four months, I was pretty much running the store. Every once in a while the owners would joke around that I should buy the place. At around year 10, I left the store for another opportunity. Seven months later, I was back. A year and half later, talk of buying became serious.
Supporters: Wayne Clemens [one of the owners] and my father were my number one supporters. My mom was supportive, but my dad was the one who said, “You’ve been running the store for 12 years already. You know what you’re doing.” Wayne told me, “You know the business. Don’t be scared.”
Golden Rule: I never treated the store as if it weren’t mine, which my bosses respected. My priority is customer service. We do not treat anyone any differently. I don’t care where you come from or who you are. Customer service is one of the biggest compliments we get.
Walk the Talk: The biggest thing in this community is knowing how to speak Portuguese. When people walk in and I can speak it, I can literally see the sigh of relief on their face. There is no language barrier when it comes to addresses, questions about what’s in the package, or the costs. It’s huge.
Pro-Tip: The really cool Mickey Mouse pillow for little Johnny is humongous and needs to go into a box. That box is going to take up X-amount of space on the truck. It may only weigh three pounds, but because it takes up that much space, you are going to get charged that much more money.
Packing Advice: Don’t use towels and newspapers. Those are not proper packing materials. Many people don’t understand that when you pack a box, it has to withstand shock, compression, and vibration. The boxes go on conveyor belts; if it happens to tip over the side of the conveyor belt and has a four-foot drop, it needs to withstand that. Use bubble wrap and air packs. We use only vendor-approved boxes for the same reason.
Christmas Rush: If you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, don’t procrastinate. UPS no longer guarantees any service except overnight. You need to give yourself some extra time. Shipping to the West Coast? I would suggest by December 13. Mondays and Tuesdays are hands down our busiest days.
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