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Employee & Community Engagement at the Heart of Each of The UPS Store Centers

An ongoing combination of hard work, continuous learning, the power of a well-known brand and commitment to great customer service contributes to a franchisee growing their business. However, without a highly engaged workforce, even the best-loved brands can fall short.

Some great examples of employee engagement are present in our franchise owners’ The UPS Store locations. Each and every day, franchisees build a stronger workplace culture through their dedication to serving their team, as well as their community.

From a variety of backgrounds, The UPS Store franchise owners have proven that no matter their history, a strong focus on employee engagement can make all the difference. Below, we’ll look deeper into The UPS Store family, reviewing the unique stories of how members of the community transitioned to serving their community, building a highly engaged team along the way.

Ashwin Narayan

Ashwin Narayan started his career in the Air Force, working in Recruiting and Information Technology and completing several deployments including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After retiring from the military, Ashwin worked in automation for a heating and air conditioning company before pursuing his next career move as a local retail owner with The UPS Store.

A trusted mentor advised Ashwin to “Take care of your employees first, as they in turn will take care of your customers,” and he not only took the sentiment to heart, but he also lives by this mantra daily. Ashwin’s initial desire to provide great customer service in his community and find a sound business investment are what led him to The UPS Store, which has topped Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking in the postal and business services category for 31 consecutive years.

Building the right team for his five Ohio The UPS store locations is very important to Ashwin, so he gets to know each employee well and prides himself on training and career development. Ashwin knows that a highly engaged team contributes not only to the store experience, but also to the world-class customer service that The UPS Store strives for.

Ashwin’s commitment to his community is just as strong as his dedication to his employees. Early in the pandemic, he helped fellow local business owners reopen by printing complimentary “We Are Open” signs, and printed banners for the nearby hospital to honor local Health Care Heroes.

Marie Jensen

Marie Jensen is a fourth-generation Oregonian and local retail owner of three The UPS store locations. Following her philosophy of “aiming for exceptional,” Marie has a “get it done” attitude that is displayed in her work ethic and her hands-on approach with her team.

When Marie’s neighbor, an owner of a The UPS Store location, suggested that Marie and her husband join The UPS Store family, her optimism led the way. Marie leveraged her management degree and service industry experience to open her first location, followed by two more since. She works diligently alongside her staff, putting her compassion and fearlessness on display while ensuring that her team is fully trained to serve customers and the community. Marie shares, “My greatest feeling of satisfaction is when our team is helping our customers.”

Like her fellow local retail owners, Marie goes above and beyond through her generosity and service to community programs like the Toys for Toys Literacy Program and The Clackamas Bookshelf, which provides free books to low-income children. In addition to providing support to other local business owners with services from The UPS Store, Marie also participates in her area’s Chamber of Commerce where she helps improve and promote economic growth in the community.

PJ Thurkauf

As a New Jersey native and lifelong resident, PJ Thurkauf knows his community well and has dedicated most of his career to lending a helping hand to make a difference in the lives of others.

PJ became a volunteer firefighter at his local Fire Department at 15. His desire growing up was to help others, and his love for fire trucks made him a natural fit for that start to his career. Continuing his path of service, he later served the community as an EMT.

When PJ was 18, he applied for a job at Mail Boxes Etc. (which eventually became The UPS Store) and little did he know at the time, that’s where his path of owning a franchise began. He worked his way up to a managerial position, became part owner of the store and eventually went on to own two The UPS Store locations.

PJ is continuously grateful he gets to do what he loves daily, which is helping his local community and customers. His dedication and gratitude continue to show in his work after 26 years as a member of The UPS Store family. PJ believes that extensive employee training and leading by example to “do the work right” are crucial to each of his store’s success. By empowering his employees to provide a “superior customer experience,” he serves his community well and has also earned the reputation of “rad boss” with his team.

As a 15-year member of the Morristown, NJ Rotary Club and even serving as president at one point, PJ serves his community outside of The UPS Store. He’s also active in his local Chamber of Commerce and regularly sponsors local sports teams.

Matthew Wood

Raised on his family’s horse farm in Kentucky, Matthew Wood grew up riding, showing horses and competing. With his passion for horses, it seemed like a natural fit to build a career raising them, but life had other plans for Matthew.

While studying at Georgetown College, Matthew’s entrepreneur mentors (his aunt and uncle) encouraged him to invest in a franchise opportunity with The UPS Store to become a local retail owner. With Matthew’s passion for graphic design, printing and great customer service, it was the perfect opportunity to build a career and invest in his community. Nine years later, Matthew acquired his second The UPS Store location, and he remains focused on growing and servicing quality stores.

Matthew’s commitment to providing a great store experience for his customers begins with his team. He’s made his business a family affair, with part of his team consisting of his brother, a cousin, an uncle and even his parents, who all contribute to Matthew’s success.

Giving back to his community is a priority for Matthew. He proudly sponsors local fundraisers and sports, and his stores rank at the top for collecting donations for the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. He’s also active with AVOL Kentucky, an organization whose mission is to educate and end HIV.

Inspiration Everywhere

These franchisees’ stories are inspiration and proof that no matter your background, a focus on employee engagement and desire to serve your community are significant on the path to becoming a local retail owner with The UPS Store. To learn more about The UPS Store franchise opportunities, check out our upcoming webinars or reach out to our franchise development team.