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How A Well-Timed Redesign Helped Boost The UPS Store's Growth The #3 company on our Franchise 500 list met the pandemic with a socially-distant store redesign.

By Stephanie Schomer

This story appears in the January 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of The UPS Store

The UPS Store's timing couldn't have been better. Four years ago, it started developing a system-wide redesign — and when that finally rolled out this past September, right in the throes of the pandemic, it proved the perfect fit for a socially distant world.

"With our fresh look, we have an open floor plan, better workflow, more technology, and smart lockers that allow customers to access mailboxes any time of day or night," says Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store. "It's very appealing to customers in that it lends itself to cautionary measures."

Related: The UPS Store Is Looking to Redefine the Word 'Store'

The company's foresight served it well throughout a tumultuous year. In January and February, while the coronavirus was taking hold in Asia and Europe, Davis and his team were already preparing for it to hit the U.S. "I was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, so I'm used to planning for contingency," Davis says. "We did scenario planning and created consistent guidelines and messaging for all our stores, even when there was a lot of misinformation running around."

The effort helped franchisees adopt new safety protocols on the fly, and the company managed to add 130 new stores even while rolling out a redesign and adapting to a surge in pandemic-­related shipping. That helped bump The UPS Store up two spots on our list (from #5 on last year's Franchise 500), and now Davis is planning for the brand's continued evolution.

Related: The Top 5 Franchises of the 21st Century

"The social unrest and social challenges of this year really forced us to consider what we stand for," Davis says. "So we introduced a minority discount of 50 percent off our initial franchise fee. Our stores do great when they're operated by owners who work and live in the same community, and we want to make sure there is no doubt left on the table: The UPS Store is a concept for everyone."

To see our complete Franchise 500 rankings, please click here, or view more stories here.

Stephanie Schomer

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor

Stephanie Schomer is Entrepreneur magazine's deputy editor. She previously worked at Entertainment WeeklyArchitectural Digest and Fast Company. Follow her on Twitter @stephschomer.

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