When I first opened the Island Ship Center on Grand Island back in 2006, I began as a FedEx Authorized ShipCenter (FASC). Shortly thereafter, in 2007, I began to ship via UPS as well but was not “authorized” as a UPS agent officially like I was with FedEx.
In 2008, after moving to our current location on Whitehaven Road, I inquired again about being authorized by UPS as an Authorized Shipping Outlet (ASO), an independent shipping center that is fully accredited and authorized by UPS to accept prepaid drop off packages and ship them out daily. Furthermore, an ASO is also found on the UPS.com website locator. I was flatly denied. I, however, continued to keep a UPS account, shipped packages via UPS, paid for weekly pickups and accepted prepaid drop offs (like Amazon, LL Bean and textbook returns) at no charge to my clients.
Many people kept asking me why I wasn’t on the UPS website even though I was operating like a fully functional UPS facility. I politely told them that my application for ASO status kept on being denied because UPS maintained that my store location was too close in proximity to the Niagara Falls UPS Store, without understanding the demographics or the uniqueness of Grand Island.
I persevered and continued to pay out of pocket for 8 years, including weekly pickup charges and insurance. In August of 2014, UPS began to reexamine the ASO program and award ASO status to independent stores (like mine) based on each individual case. It seemed almost impossible at that time that my store would ever be selected, but I decided to submit my application once more, only to be denied again. I did NOT give up.
Last month, when we attended the Retail Shipper’s Expo in Las Vegas, my wife & I met many pack & ship store owners who were in our shoes, trying for years to obtain UPS ASO status. We felt relieved and resilient at the same time. We decided to join AMBC, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to helping its members, made up entirely of mail, pack and business centers, work to solve issues in our industry. On my behalf, AMBC submitted my application in June once more; this time, however, I had obtained letters from Town Supervisor Mary Cooke and GI Chamber President Eric Fiebelkorn.
This past Tuesday, I received the phone call from a wonderful ASO rep in Texas; he informed me that I had been awarded UPS ASO status, effective immediately. I could not believe it. I’m truly grateful to share this news with you and the rest of our readers and fans. I’m indebted to Retail Shipping Associates and AMBC for helping me with my cause.
Thank you for allowing me to be of service to you and for sharing
With effervescence and mirth (not to mentioned resilience and optimism),