There are approximately 5200 FedEx Authorized ShipCenters (or FASCs, as they are known in our industry) in the United States. Every year, 7-10 of these stores get invited by the retail and marketing teams at FedEx to join them for a weekend of learning, networking, business growth and entertainment, to show gratitude for their efforts in promoting the FedEx brand and selling FedEx services in their stores. This year, we were truly honored and privileged to be among those chosen for this excursion. We wanted to highlight this amazing, once in a lifetime journey for all of you, since you all (or “y’all” as they say in Memphis) are the reason why we were chosen. This trip included a private tour of the FedEx Hub in Memphis, located right on the Memphis Airport property; we both got the chance to go inside a FedEx Boeing 777 jet, to see for ourselves the huge size available for nothing but packages to be transported from the hub to all parts of the world. It was Fahim’s childhood dream to go inside the plane one day and both of us were just ecstatic.
She directed us to the private limo bus, where we met another couple from Newark, who was also selected for this trip. Paul, our driver, drove us to the Peabody Hotel, where we met other FedEx hosts in a private welcome reception in one of the elegant rooms. We arrived just in time to see the daily march of the Peabody ducks, a daily routine which is worth mentioning. These ducks have their penthouse, known as the “Duck Palace,” on the 12th floor of the hotel; they come down the elevator at 11 am everyday, walk across the red carpet, and are greeted by crowds of visitors, including jovial children eager to see them march to their fountain, which is located right near the receiption area of the hotel. At 5 pm, the ducks march back and the crowds gather and cheer once again. Anyone from outside (or visitors to Memphis staying at other hotels) is welcome to see this spectacle.
The Peabody Hotel is one of the 100 most historic hotels in America; it is also the place that Elvis signed his famous RCA contract in 1955 for a sum of $4500! We took pics of this event in the museum of one of the mezzanine rooms in the hotel.
Shortly after reception, our room was ready and we proceeded to the 9th floor for a quick rest and change of clothes. We had to meet Paul at our bus downstairs at 5 PM to be taken to the FedEx Family House tour that evening. This place was amazing. FedEx donates generously to FedEx Family House, which houses parents and families of children who are being treated for illnesses at nearby Le Bonheur Hospital. Right after the tour, our dinner was catered by Central BBQ. Throughout this trip, FedEx was kind enough to cater to our specific dietary needs, something that is truly worth mentioning.
Upon returning from our tour that evening, we had a short break and then we met at 9 pm that same night to go for the FedEx Hub tour, one of the big highlights of our trip. Since most of the action happens at FedEx during weeknights, from the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM, FedEx scheduled our tour during those time slots.
We arrived, checked in (with all our ID’s and proper verification), watched a small movie about the tour and proceeded to go with John, our effervescent and informative tour guide. Due to the confidential nature of this tour, all pictures were prohibited. We only took permitted pictures in the lobby of the FedEx Experience Tour building, one of which is shown below:
Nonetheless, this tour was amazing. We saw the daily operations of millions of packages that come in every day into Memphis, get sorted and redirected on the correct flights and out for delivery, just in time before dawn! It was mind-blowing, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, mesmerizing and truly gratifying, all in one. We appreciated our jobs that much more; the care that we take for making sure each package is packed correctly is not in vain. We also saw the FedEx flight simulators, in which pilots train and complete their required training hours. The FedEx Hub is a mini city inside the airport, complete with its own security, fire company, food establishments and hospital. It comes alive at night and is a sight to see.
We returned to our hotel at 2 am, exhausted, yet elated from this magical experience.
On Friday morning, the 26th of July, we had to meet our tour bus at 11:30. That day, we had lunch at the Majestic Grille, which used to be a silent movie theatre. To this day, silent movies play on a large screen in the front, while diners dine and enjoy their meals. It was magnificent. During this business lunch, our FedEx hosts asked us how to make the FASC program better. We provided our marketing suggestions, feedback and constructive criticism, to which they were thankful and agreed to adapt.
Shortly thereafter, we went on a private tour of St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the most famous of its kind, which opened in 1962, founded by Danny Thomas, and now has 182 research labs on site. When it opened, there was a 20% survival rate for childhood cancer; today, there’s an 80% survival rate domestically. St Jude’s is working to make that rate 100% domestically and internationally. It’s motto, coined by Danny, is “No child should die in the dawn of life.” We saw first hand the care that is afforded to its patients and their families, all of whom do not pay a dime to be treated there. All the funds come from private donors, including FedEx, which sponsors the FedEx St Jude World Golf Tournament every year. It costs $2.8 million per day to run this hospital and the treatment is worthy of recognition. All of us on this tour had tears in our eyes, yet we knew there was so much hope for so many of these kids.
On Friday night, we had dinner at Felicia Suzanne’s, a local favorite restaurant in downtown Memphis, after which we met the owner and chef, Felicia! Her food is cooked with so much love and is absolutely delectable and decadent.
Saturday morning, July 27th, was the 2nd to last day of the FedEx St. Jude World Golf Championship. We rode in our tour bus to the front of the entrance and were escorted by our wonderful hosts into the private FedEx cabana, overlooking the 18th hole at TPC Southwind. We saw many of the world’s greatest golfers compete so close to us; it was truly majestic and sublime. For example Rory Mcilroy and Brooks Koepka (the ultimate winner of this particular champonship), putted right in front of us.
After spending most of the day at the tournament, we proceeded back to our hotel that afternoon and got ready for dinner. This time, it was at Flight Restaurant in downtown Memphis. The menu was tantalizing, the service was extraordinary, the smiles were aplenty and the ambience was exceptionally memorable. Each portion was a meal in itself and yet, they served three “small” portions for each course! We both could not finish our dessert.
Upon arriving back to our hotel that evening, we said our goodbyes to everyone since our return flight was very early the next morning, on Sunday the 28th.
Mallory met us at 4:45 am on that Sunday in the lobby of the hotel, just to see us off and Paul drove us to the airport, with that same smile that had greeted us three days prior. We flew home safely, anxious to share our journey with our friends, family and community.
We thank Larry, Ty, Shari, MJ, Karen, Mallory, Randy and of course Paul, for this amazing journey and opportunity. We look forward to growing our business with FedEx services and serving our guests for years to come.
With gratitude, effervescence and a collaborative spirit,
Fahim & Seema Mojawalla, Co-Owners
Island Ship Center (A FedEx Authorized ShipCenter)
#SpaOfShipping #FahimFix #SeemaSolves
7 Minutes from Niagara Falls, USA