The UPS Store - When Brown Comes To Town
When Kyle Moffett arrived at the University of South Alabama in the early 1990's, just like any other undergraduate student he was very optimistic about his future. He initially had dreams of becoming a Wall Street stock broker. With a keen eye for economics and finance he often looked at the business side of an issue, so being a stock broker was very realistic aspiration for the Wilmer, Alabama native. But as we all know, life doesn't always go according to plans. The climate of the 1990's was much different than that of the current. Little did he know that he was on the path leading to a collision course with 21st century commerce.
In 2006, he started DOKYMO Acquisitions Corporation. "I worked for small businesses that sought out businesses that were suffering usually from poor management, purchase easily at a low price, make them profitable, then sell it.". In 2013, he came across a struggling UPS Store that fit the criteria of business that he usually sought to acquire. He then obtained a small loan from his father for another business venture that he managed to net a 1500% profit. This enabled him to purchase a UPS Store outright rather than pursuing typical banking and finance avenues.
The success or failure of any company is all about location. Mr. Moffett's two stores are located near The University of South Alabama which is more residentially situated as opposed to other colleges and universities. "Depending on the time of year, most of my customers will be students. The 'perfect' customer would be a home based business owner." These two jewels are what makes the UPS Store franchise ideal for 21st century needs. "When operating out of your home, you don't want your customers and clientele knowing where you sleep at night. Therefore we offer mailboxes. In addition to that we offer printing services, flyers, banners and business cards etc. We run the gambit for the small business owner. These are the customers that we are actually looking for”, he says.
One of the many strengths of the UPS Store and becoming a franchisee is that it is veteran friendly. In previous decades and wars, many veterans, when their terms of enlistment had expired, they were often met with a hostile workforce with very limited options. According to Tim Davis, President of The UPS Store, Inc. and former U.S. Marine Corps Captain and Gulf War Veteran, “The skills veterans develop through their military experience, such as leadership, work ethic and discipline, are integral to pursuing a second career. The UPS Store franchise allows veterans to apply these skills to manage and run their own business. We are proud to support veterans and help fulfill their aspirations to be successful business owners”. In 2017, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked The UPS Store in the top 10 franchises for offering incentives and other programs to help veterans become franchisees.
The Enterprise Magazine has had The UPS Store ranked #1 in the postal and business services category for 28 years. Furthermore, it was awarded the #3 Most Consistent Franchise Award in 2018. Ultimately, the UPS Store was ranked #4 in the Top 500 Franchise Opportunities in America. This was partly made possible by the opportunities that the franchise offers to veterans. Partnering with the VetFran program, The UPS Store offers qualifying veterans $10,000 off their franchise fee to create their new business. According to the company, there are more than 200 veteran franchisees who own more than 300 UPS Store locations.
Just as The UPS Store is actively seeking veterans to promote and extend their brand, The UPS Store is also seeking real estate agents. As one of the world’s most recognized brands, The UPS Store Franchise is always looking for vacant real estate space in offices, buildings, universities, and shopping centers. It’s being deeply embedded in the community that has allowed the UPS Store to expand its footprint. As with Kyle Moffett’s two stores, most UPS Stores are looking in close proximity to colleges, residential areas, and small scale malls.
The UPS Store desires for its franchisees as well as customer base to reflect America. That calls for diversity. Potential minority franchisees are also actively sought as the company desires to literally diversify its portfolio. The IFA Franchise Education and Research Foundation, concluded in a 2018 study that 31% of franchised businesses are minority owned, compared to 19 percent of non-franchised businesses. The number of minority franchise owners is up 10 percent from the previous mark just five years before. The UPS Store desires to tap into this potential market among different ethnicities, gender, religions, and national origins. The UPS Store has consistently built relationships with many local and national minority business groups including the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). These genuine efforts to improve and further expand the UPS brand are in parallel with what appealed to him to venture into franchisee ownership of the company.
Currently, there are six UPS Stores in Mobile, two of which are owned by him (#2698 & #2491). What perhaps sets him apart from the others is his commitment to the customer. “Customer service is our No. 1 goal,” he says. After four years of opening his first UPS Store he went from a modest staff to that of four. His commitment to customer service and excellence allowed him to be awarded the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month in May of 2017. “What I want is when people come into my store, they’re going to feel welcomed. We do what the post office doesn’t, like if it’s raining outside, we’re going to walk you out with an umbrella. If we see you struggling, we’ll help you bring your boxes in. If you bring in a box that needs taping the post office will sell you some tape and then you tape it yourself. But in my store, we’ll pack it and then tape it free of charge”, he boasts of his service. According to Mr. Moffett, customers have either called him via cell phone or informed him out right of the quality of service that they’ve received from employees and the character of the stores while conducting business.
What sells The UPS store according to Mr. Moffett is the practicality of it being a “one stop shop”. You can handle a multitude of services ranging from your own mail box, to email, printing services, as well as graphic arts and designs. The fall season, particularly post Halloween is the peak shipping season due to holiday gift purchases. In the days of e-commerce, this has given birth to a new criminal, the “porch pirate”. A porch pirate is a person who steals merchandise from the porches of unsuspecting customers, mainly due to the residents not being home at the time of delivery. According to Mr. Moffett, “If you order something online and you have a mailbox with us, you can have shipped to us and we’ll hold it for you and it won’t be stolen or left on your porch exposed to bad weather.”
What Mr. Moffett enjoys most about being a franchisee is that there is a desire for him to succeed. As a franchisee owner, “What I like most is that there’s a balance between being part of the franchisee network and having a certain amount of autonomy to grow your business as you see fit. Once you become a franchisee, you’re not thrown to the wolves. They don’t simply want your money and leave. They want you to be successful.” According to the UPS Store Franchise, there are five major benefits to becoming a franchisee: Flexibility, Comprehensive Training, Advertising and Marketing, Operational Support, and Minimized Risk. Mr. Moffett’s ability to capitalize on the advantages and resources afforded by The UPS Store is what has allowed him to be successful at what he’s so compassionate about, ownership and generational transfer of wealth and legacy.
Although seeing a return on his investment in a relatively short time, profits were the ultimate prize. However, what the husband and father profited the most transcends money and wealth.” I enjoy driving past my establishments knowing that I own those”, the successful businessman says. He went on further to express that, “I had a meeting is San Diego. My daughters ran the store and to come back and see them in uniform, handling daddy’s business, ownership meant a lot. I would not have experienced that had I been punching someone else’s clock”. Just as his father invested him getting his business ventures off the ground, he desires to have something generationally to pass on to his children. This can be further seen in his community outreach and philanthropic overtures by donating to the Toys For Tots and Honor Flight charities.
Given the success record of Mr. Moffett over the past couple of decades, its only logical that he would desire to own additional stores. However, every step must be calculatingly and meticulously thought out in order to minimize the room for failure and minimize risk. Due to his commitment to peak performance and brand recognition, he was selected for a seven month long Emerging Leaders Program. He expressed on the seriousness of the program that, “The classes are very intense and are designed to help you create and obtain realistic goals, as it pertains to growth and revenue”. As with any business, the tail is only as effective as the head.
“I am interested in opening additional stores. However, I want my current two stores operating at peak performance. My stores should be profitable to the point that should I open up an additional unit, I want to go and pay cash for an additional store. I’m not big on debt. I know it may be the American way, but it’s not Kyle’s way’, he forecasts. UPS is a brand. It has become a go to leader for shipping. In the past 20 years alone, coupled with the internet, it has forced the US Postal Service to revamp their model. Furthermore, e-commerce is the wave of the future, already signaling the demise of iconic big box stores. Many of these purchases will inevitably go through UPS’ hands. In the early 90’s, Kyle Moffett set out on a journey at the University of South Alabama seeking the power of the color green. However, in order to get green, he had to go down town and get brown. FLY MOB !