Bagels to Switzerland? Triscuits to Australia? Stan’s Donuts to Michigan? Yes, any day of the week. At your whim, the UPS Store team at 2784 Homestead at Kiely will gladly ship it.
“Our shipping volume is higher than ever,” says Santa Clara UPS Store #4636 franchise owner Ravinder Lal. “But we offer a lot of other services, too. We do finger printing, we have notary service, we take passport photos, we added more mailboxes with 24 X 7 access, and we expanded our printing service—everything from banners to business cards.”
“We’re now the number one printing UPS store in the South Bay,” Lal says. “I owe it all to the [Santa Clara] Chamber [of Commerce]. I got great advice from older members, and the Chamber gave me the first few jobs. The store’s year over year growth has grown despite the economy because of the business community having faith in me.”
In the five years since he bought the franchise in July 2006, Lal and the team of employees he mentors, have turned the store from a faltering franchise into a bustling, neighborhood service hub where customers are greeted with smiles and courteous, efficient service seven days a week.
“I was here for the grand opening,” says customer Latonya Mahone. “I love it here. People are very friendly and professional.”
“They’ve been very helpful, cordial, and informative. That’s why I come back,” says Santa Claran James Otieno, shipping packages to New York and Denmark. “And they’re convenient.”
“I owe my employees a lot for their hard work. Without good help, you can’t have success. You need to count on people and have a good team,” says Lal, who managed his cousin’s UPS store in Daly City before striking out on his own.
Building the business wasn’t easy. Until Lal moved his family to Santa Clara in August, he often put in twelve-hour days commuting from San Francisco, where he was born and raised.
Adding to the stress of long hours, about six months after Lal bought the UPS franchise, his daughter, Alyssa, now almost five, was born two and a half months premature on the bathroom floor of their home.
“I’d never panicked in my life before, but I did at that moment,” Lal says.
Then Lal lost his father, who died a year after receiving, simultaneously, a heart and kidney transplant. “My father made sure that I became the man I am,” he says.
“He’s the best boss I ever had,” says former employee Vish Ravikumar. “Ravin took me in like a friend and encouraged me to advance myself.”
“The atmosphere here is fun for us. Customers vote for the employee of the month. It keeps us motivated to try harder,” says store manager Pearl Castillo. “Ravin acknowledges when you’re doing good, and he throws suggestions on how to improve.”
“Ravin is like a mentor, helping us understand how to run and manage a business and deal with customers,” says assistant manager Adrian Hunter. As a Chamber of Commerce ambassador, Lal also mentors new Chamber members.
Lal isn’t all work and no play. He’s a big 49ers fan, races his 2004 Mustang Cobra, and values time with Alyssa and his wife, Cindy, soon to give birth to their second daughter.
Information: http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/4636/ or (408) 247-4010. Remember to vote for employee of the month when you drop by.