Printing, copying and shipping weren’t services Colmar Home Center offered a year ago, but that’s changed.
Owner Michael Collins’ customers told him they had a need, and he realized a small store inside of his existing business could solve the problem.
Colmar Home Center is located in Margate City, New Jersey, and sells a product mix fit for professional contractors, local homeowners and the island community’s annual flood of summer vacationers.
Customers at the business’s two-story kitchen design center wanted to be able to print digital blueprints and beachgoers wanted a convenient spot to pick up and ship packages.
In October, Collins opened a franchise location of The UPS Store in about 400 square feet of Colmar Home Center. The small format store-in-store model accommodates mailboxes, printers and cardboard boxes, packing tape and other shipping products into a small space, allowing businesses to offer an array of added services and products under The UPS Store brand.
Retailers, such as Collins, sign a franchise agreement, pay royalties, commit floorspace and staff time and open up shop. The UPS Store provides four weeks of intensive training for one employee and requires that the store be open at least 58 hours per week.
The model can work well for an independent home improvement retailer like Collins because his store already has an established brand, customer base, store location and staff, says Chris Adkins, vice president of franchise and business development for The UPS Store.
Collins’ store is the first independent home improvement business to open The UPS Store franchise inside its existing operation.
The UPS Store trains a franchise store-in-store’s primary employee on business skills, customer interaction and fulfilling notary and graphic design services, among others.
Independent retailers have learned to thrive by offering exceptional customer service, which makes them appealing partners, Adkins says.
The UPS Store locations tend to attract a customer base that is about 80 percent small business owners, and that can bring new shoppers the retailers don’t already reach, he says.
Having Colmar Home Center serve as a convenient drop-off location for packages has brought in customers Collins has never seen before.
“The goal of any retailer is to get shoppers in your door and not give them a reason to go anywhere else,” Collins say. “It’s up to us to make them customers for life after that.”