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Store Stories: Building Business Relationships

Surjit Malhi and Navjeet Kaur 

Surjit Malhi and Navjeet Kaur, husband and wife team with two California The UPS Store locations, take their customer service very seriously. Firmly believing that “helping” is their number one job, they always say yes to their customers even if it’s something they’ve never done before. They pride themselves on finding a solution for each unique customer need, no matter how intimidating or complicated it may initially seem. 

Surjit and Navjeet were both born in India and earned Computer Science degrees before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending years in the restaurant industry with grueling hours, they pursued a career change with a better work-life balance. Surjit applied for a job with his local The UPS Store, and during the interview shared his dream of becoming a small business owner. Surjit began working behind the counter right away, learning the business and researching how he could eventually make owning a franchise work for himself and his family.   

With their love of building relationships, their professional expertise and their entrepreneurial spirit, becoming franchise owners with The UPS Store fit perfectly into Surjit and Navjeet’s lives. 

Customer and community relationships were a priority from the very beginning for Surjit and Navjeet. For their first store opening, they invited neighbors and employees of their local school district, college and church. While they expected 20-25 to attend, they found that their enthusiasm was contagious enough to attract 70 people. Navjeet shares, “It’s so much fun when we’re able to meet people and talk with them in person.” 

Surjit and Navjeet show their dedication to customers daily. Whether it’s calling to ensure sentimental items have reached their destination unscathed, translating for an attorney’s clients or inspiring other customers to pursue their own dreams of becoming a small business owner, it’s all in a day’s work. According to Surjit, “It’s a really good business, but keep in mind that customer service is the most important thing.” 

Ken Weber 

A Massachusetts native and entrepreneur at heart, Ken Weber has a passion for positivity that is reflected in his work with The UPS Store. Ken and his team have done it all, from shipping a tree to the interior of an airplane, all while building customer relationships along the way. Although sometimes a new customer request can present an initial challenge of how to get it done, Ken always says, “Yes, we can do that!” and then figures it out along the way. 

Ken studied business management in college and started his career as the owner of several car and truck rental companies. He then moved on to the long hours and poor work-life balance inherent in corporate restaurant management. Becoming exhausted and realizing that working for someone else wasn’t what he loved, he decided to nurture his entrepreneurial spirit and pursue franchise opportunities with The UPS Store. Now he owns two The UPS Store locations and proudly shares, “I have a passion for running this business.” 

Ken’s dedication to customers translates to his team as well. They understand that customers look to them for solutions, and their experience and attitude always get the job done. Some of the close community relationships that Ken and his team have built are with neighbors, local politicians and even New England Patriots players. Ken also prides himself on the relationships he’s built with his team, noting a few employees who have been with his team for over seven years and a few since the very beginning. Ken says, “I’m very good to my employees. When they need time off, they get time off.” 

Michael Phillips  

Born in Germany and having been raised throughout the United States and Germany in a military family, Michael Phillips is no stranger to service. After watching both of his parents serve in the military, with his father retiring as a full Colonel from the U.S. Army and his mother then becoming a teacher and school board member, Michael learned from his role models to “give something back and lift people up.” 

Michael had his own impressive career in the military, starting with earning an ROTC scholarship and earning the status of distinguished military graduate. He then served as an infantry officer and later commanded the 2nd Armored Division and the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), known for its watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Michael then finished his military career assisting the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy.  

After retiring from the military, Michael investigated the possibility of owning a franchise, and found a great opportunity for veteran entrepreneurship with The UPS Store. As a small business owner, he is involved in all aspects of running the store, and in doing so he discovered his love of building relationships, not only within the community but also with his employees. 

As a mentor, coach and boss to his employees, Michael is passionate about cultivating their work ethic and leadership skills. Often hiring employees who may have been overlooked by society, his compassion gives second chances to those who may have struggled in the past. Some of these hires have even turned into his best employees, with 10, 13 and even 18 years of service. 

Michael and his team place significance on building customer relationships as well, getting to know their unique and diverse stories which include a customer whose son starred in a popular NBC show, a customer who never forgets his store anniversary and other close customers whose funerals he has attended after their passing. Having been in business for over 28 years, Michael has built long-term relationships that truly show the life cycle of his efforts. He recalls customers that came into The UPS Store to get forms notarized to adopt children, and those kids have since graduated from college and are now coming in with their own children. 

Michael is grateful to his team, sharing, “I couldn’t have six retail locations without great employees. Our success has been our employees.” 

Small Business and Relationships 

To be a successful small business owner, building a talented team and customer relationships work together in unison. By investing in their own teams, The UPS Store franchisees enable employees to then build community relationships and earn lifelong customers. 

To learn more about how to open a franchise and start building a team of your own, check out our upcoming webinars or reach out to our franchise development team.