FZ: How, if at all, does this affect the types of services offered at each store?
Amos: The three strategic objectives MBE has had for a number of years are growth, profitability and communication. Our overall strategic goal is customer intimacy, and I [expect] we'll enhance our ability to serve the customer in more meaningful ways-we'll leverage our existing profit centers and create new profit centers. We have the ability with a partner and a parent like UPS to stabilize our technology platforms and to improve the speed and stability of those platforms and the communication between centers to home office, home office to corporate accounts. I [foresee] a series of enhancements that not only protect and enhance the terrestrial business, but that also have a positive impact on our e-commerce business.
FZ: In the The New York Times, a UPS spokesperson was quoted as saying Mail Boxes Etc. stores will continue offering shipping from companies other than UPS, like FedEx and DHL, but that over time, UPS may get to the point where there's additional promotion of their company. What does that mean?
Amos: I think what he's saying is we've agreed to continue to offer a multiple-carrier platform, but because UPS is now our parent and our partner, one would expect it would take a greater prominence inside the [MBE] footprint, or that the incentives offered would be attractive to the customer or the franchisee to utilize [UPS] in a meaningful way.
FZ: Is anything about your target market changing? Are you still going after the small-business and homebased business markets?
Amos: Actually, nothing changes. Surely the largest, single, growing consumer segment in the world is still the SOHO market. It's a common target market for both UPS and MBE, and what MBE does is enhance UPS' ability to reach these folks at retail. This may broaden [our target market] a bit in that we would have a wider range of consumers, but certainly it wouldn't change it.
FZ: Will there be any changes to Mail Boxes Etc.'s management team?
Amos: No, we're going forward with the management team in place. One of the requirements for the acquisition, from UPS' perspective, was that the management team stayed in place. I'm looking forward to tapping into UPS' brainpower and extensive networks; they'll help us become a better company.
FZ: What should customers and prospective franchisees be looking for with this change?
Amos: We're bringing a very powerful packaging, distribution and logistics monolith to the market, and we look forward to not only continuing to serve the consumer, but offering the MBE opportunity with our new UPS partner to all entrepreneurs who want to do something significant in their local markets.