MBE, a UPS company, is the world’s largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal and business service centers. Its franchise brands, The UPS Store ® and Mail Boxes Etc.®, together comprise more than 5,900 independently owned locations around the world, providing convenient and value-added business services to the small-office/home-office (SOHO) market, corporate “road warriors,” and consumers.
The Mail Boxes Etc. concept was introduced in 1980 as a convenient alternative to the post office. Throughout its evolution, it has continued to define and lead the business services category it created. In 2001, UPS acquired MBE. In 2003, the two companies unveiled The UPS Store opportunity offering the U.S. network the choice to re-brand, and also set lower maximum retail prices for UPS shipping services. On April 7, 2003, approximately 3,000 Mail Boxes Etc. locations in the United States (at the time, nearly 90% of the domestic U.S. network) re-branded as The UPS Store and began offering lower (around 20% on average) UPS-direct shipping rates. The stores remain locally owned and operated, and continue to offer the same variety of postal and business services, with the same convenience and world-class service.
In the year following the re-branding, MBE sold more than 500 new The UPS Store locations in the United States – a record for the company, and phenomenal growth for a quarter-century-old franchise. Special venue site development also has grown steadily with locations on college campuses, military bases, in convention centers, hotels, and urban renewal areas/empowerment zones. Special venue sites create an opportunity to provide services to consumers, regardless of where they live, work or travel.
In addition to its domestic network, MBE has expanded globally through master license agreements, with locations in more than 57 countries. Historically, the services provided by The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations have been adaptable to the needs and market conditions of various countries and cultures around the world. In 2004, the company crossed the threshold of 5,000 locations worldwide. Throughout the company’s historic growth, one thing has remained constant: the commitment of its franchisees to providing personalized and convenient business solutions with world-class customer service.
In 2007, Stuart Mathis, president of MBE joined the International Franchisee Association board of directors. MBE is a proud member of the IFA's VetFran program. Since the program was reinitiated in 2003, MBE has awarded more than 120 franchises under the VetFran program, more than any other franchisor. Qualified veterans are eligible for a 15 percent discount off the franchise fee.
Number of Franchised Units Worldwide: 5,958
Total locations in U.S.: 4,473; Total locations outside the U.S.: 1,485
In 2008, Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “Franchise 500,” a ranking of franchise opportunities based on factors such as financial strength, growth rate and size, rated The UPS Store #11 among all franchise opportunities and #1 in the Postal and Business Services category for the 18th consecutive year.* The UPS Store was honored by Kanbay Research Institute as the “Most Competitive Retailer” in 2007, topping other retailers such as Petco, Kohl’s, and Target. Additionally, the company has a rich tradition of award-winning marketing and public relations campaigns, among other accolades.
The center interior is designed to promote a comfortable, yet professional business environment, with a contemporary appearance geared toward heightening awareness of products and services.
Centers are typically located in shopping centers and commercial complexes, but also can be found in special venues such as universities, convention centers, hotels, military bases and large retail stores. The UPS Stores range from 1,200 to 1,800 sq. ft. and centers generally employ a full-time staff of two or more employees, including the owner/operator. Hours of operation vary, but locations are typically open Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many locations are also open on Sundays.
"We have been very involved with both our area franchisee and with corporate...they did a great job at getting the location set up. They worked hard at negotiating the best lease possible for us. And we have so many unusual situations that come up that we're usually talking to someone at least once a week."
-- Nicole Byrne, franchisee, Nevada
"Well, it's pretty much a complete package and that's kind of what sold me on the franchise in the first place. The technology support is just outstanding and we have a very sophisticated technology platform and we need that type of technology support that you wouldn't get in a smaller business. The marketing support is extraordinary. Very pleased with that. And really, it's a well rounded, multifunctional support system. I enjoy it...the strength of this franchise, the level of support that I perceived that we got from corporate was far and way better than I saw in the other franchises."
-- Hank Kroehnback, franchisee, North Carolina
"It's definitely rewarding cause I have fun...Being my own boss now and not working for somebody else, I say is extremely rewarding. It's truly the biggest reward to know that this is mine, this is something I'm dong for myself...I'm looking forward to doing my next one. It's been a great deal. It's been a lot of fun. It's allowed me to have fun on a daily basis. I highly recommend it."
-- Jim Miller, franchisee, Illinois
"Your customers become your friends, they really do. People come to our store, they relate to us, they relate to our other customers. It really is a focal point of the community."
-- Joan Barrett, franchisee, Delaware
"You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You go to the training, you go to another store for 2 weeks for in-store training, and it gets you up and running much more quickly."
-- Dennis Stein, franchisee, California
New franchisees receive one month of training including time at award-winning** The UPS Store University in San Diego, California, ongoing professional development with Internet-based training and resources, regional meetings, seminars, and worldwide networking.
* 1990-2003 listed under the Mail Boxes Etc. brand
** American Society of Training & Development, 2007