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Postal centers go high-tech

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Most homebased entrepreneurs are as comfortable in postal business centers as they are with childhood friends. After all, this is an industry that's grown up with the SOHO market. Once fairly simple operations where you could get mail, ship and receive packages, these centers have matured into sophisticated, high-tech resource centers. Here are some of their latest offerings:

Web-to-print technology. Log on to PostNet's Web site where you can select, publish and purchase advertising specialties and printed materials using your own artwork and logos.

Computer time rental. Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) centers rent computers by the minute or hour The service includes high-speed Internet access.

MBE Online. Another Mail Boxes Etc. offering, this Internet access product marketed by MBE, IBM and Infoseek, is an easy-to-use research and information-gathering tool for the homebased and small-office worker.

Virtual warehouse. Parcel Plus locations are being designed and retrofitted to provide homebased businesses with enhanced supplies, facilities, packaging and shipping expertise.

Travel aid. Mail Boxes Etc. and USA Technologies Inc. have teamed up to offer MBE Business Express-24-hour. These fully automated, credit card-activated, totally self-service business centers are designed for business travelers who need quick access to personal computers, printers, copiers and fax machines. Computer workstations, featuring Microsoft software, provide Internet and e-mail services, laptop ports and printers.

Jacquelyn Lynn left the corporate world more than 12 years ago and has been writing about business and management issues from her home office in Winter Park, Florida, ever since.