Franchise owners of The UPS Store come from varied backgrounds, with no two having the same career path or experience. Some of what they do have in common, though, is the dedication to their business, a drive to serve the community and the business acumen to grow their The UPS Store locations.
We celebrate the achievements of the following franchise owners, while also recognizing their Black-owned businesses that have made a meaningful impact in their communities. Read on to learn more about what makes each retail owner unique and inspiring.
Melissa Thomas has successfully embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and owns an impressive ten The UPS Store locations throughout southern California.
Beginning her career at 17 in the quick-service restaurant industry, Melissa spent ten years developing a solid understanding of how to provide excellent customer service and became dedicated to great service, teamwork and her customers. With this mindset, Melissa and her husband, Jerome, decided to channel their energy into business ownership and methodically researched local franchise opportunities. They jumped at the chance to acquire a The UPS Store location near their home and their kids’ school, and since have expanded to many locations.
Melissa credits hard work and research when reflecting on her growth. “Everything might look good on paper, but you really need to invest time to research,” she shares. Melissa has certainly taken her own advice, doing her research by talking to people on the ground and in the industry, as well as learning about “the good, the bad and the ugly to get a solid understanding of the business opportunity.” Even through moments of doubt, especially during the financial crash of 2008, Melissa and Jerome persevered, weathering the storm to prosper with the help of their outstanding management team and focus on superior customer service.
Melissa says “raising three great kids while running a business” is her biggest achievement. Though she proudly states that she’s a mom first, she is a true superwoman dedicated to leading and inspiring her team while also keeping up with her family. Melissa’s integrity and work ethic were instilled in her by her grandma, and to this day she thinks of her and thanks her for the person she has become.
Paying it forward is also a priority for Melissa, donating to children’s charities like the Toys for Tots Literacy Program and the local Boys and Girls Clubs.
As business minded as he is athletic, Tecumseh Peete is an all-around inspiring person and multitalented franchise owner of The UPS Store in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In addition to being a retail owner, Tecumseh also holds a PhD in Management in Organizational Leadership, is an adjunct college professor and an accomplished sprinter in track and field.
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Tecumseh grew up with many influential mentors and coaches. After starting his career unloading trailers with UPS, he then enrolled in a UPS program called BEEP (Black Executive Exchange Program) where he learned more about African American executives’ real-world experiences, inspiring Black-owned businesses and potential career paths in corporate leadership. Tecumseh took advantage of an opportunity to move to Salt Lake City and became a UPS delivery driver. The next 12 years were pivotal for Tecumseh, where he recognized his entrepreneurial spirit that would eventually allow him to take charge of his own destiny by becoming a retail owner of The UPS Store.
Tecumseh then continued building on his experience in transportation and logistics with General Motors and Avon Products, solidifying his operational logistics expertise by earning a green and black belt certification in Six Sigma, a course designed to reduce errors and cut operational waste.
Believing “there is no such thing as luck, only the intersection of preparation and opportunity,” Tecumseh spent months researching franchise opportunities and preparing to buy his first The UPS Store location. He is extremely proud of his awesome team, finds joy in helping his customers daily and sets a great example for all through living by the motto, “Be the change you want to see.”
Joy Patton was born in California to an Army family and spent the first 16 years of her life relocating each year before settling in Philadelphia. After high school, she joined the Army National Guard, then afterward, went on to build an impressive 19-year career with Exxon Mobile Oil which began providing excellent customer service but spanned numerous roles and cities by the time she left.
Joy recalls an “aha moment” in 2015 in which a “light bulb went off and I realized I wanted to own my own business.” After spending two years researching all types of franchise opportunities in the beauty and food industries (and meeting her future husband during this time), she found an opportunity with The UPS Store and knew that becoming a retail owner was the right path for her. Joy opened her doors in 2017 and now manages the store together with her husband.
With a background in serving her country and having developed a successful career prior to becoming a franchise owner with The UPS Store, it’s no surprise that Joy’s current role is rooted in providing superior customer service. She eagerly shares that “customer service is our thing” and that she and her team take immense pride as a Black-owned businessservicing their community.
Joy and her team offer excellent service with a smile and are proud to have repeat customers coming in regularly to tell them they are appreciated. The team thrives with hands-on and online training and has even expanded to include much of Joy’s family with her cousins, nieces and even her mom working at the store.
With a feeling of responsibility to serve small businesses and his community, Joseph Malbrough strives to always be a resource to them and help in any way he can. He and his team at The UPS Store in Smyrna, Georgia set an example of excellent customer service daily and live by the motto, “Be inclusive. Look at the needs of the customer. Treat them with respect. We are like a family.”
Born and raised in Texas, Joseph always had a goal of giving back and serving his community. While working for Motorola in his first “real job,” he developed his communications and business skills, then achieved one of his career goals of working for his local Chamber of Commerce to be more involved in the community. In this role, he perfected his fundraising skills over the course of 12 years, and then set his sights on another career goal, sharing, “I wanted to own my own business.” Inheriting the entrepreneurial spirit from his father, a steel factory worker with a shoeshining business on the side, Joseph found the perfect opportunity to continue the Black-owned business legacy from his father and become a retail owner with The UPS Store in 2004.
Joseph is motivated by really being involved in the community. He serves as a board member for the Smyrna Board of Business Association, onboarding and mentoring new businesses and fundraising for high school scholarships. His dedication to the community was recently recognized by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, in which his The UPS Store location received a Top 30 Small Businesses of 2021 award.
Not only an inspiration to his community, Joseph has also had a huge impact on his own two sons’ career paths, inspiring them to pay it forward and make positive impacts in their communities. His oldest son, Evan, founded a non-profit and wants to become a Civil Rights attorney, and his younger son, Jared, is studying mechanical engineering.