Following the success of the recently opened store on the Reading University campus, business services franchise Mail Boxes Etc. is considering more stores in alternative locations, building on its reputation for reliability and service and as the most convenient supplier to local people and companies.
The new Reading campus store is owned by Patrick Woodlock, an experienced businessman who already owned the Reading town store and wanted a second location specifically to cater for the needs of university community. A branding and marketing specialist, Patrick worked with high profile multi-national corporations in the UK and the USA before joining Mail Boxes Etc. He was pleased to discover that the store in his home town of Reading was up for sale and he believed it offered a viable opportunity to develop a very successful business.
Recognising the potential that Mail Boxes Etc. offered in the UK and drawing on his own experience of running a multi-million pound enterprise in a nearby Berkshire town, Patrick knew that there was a genuine local need for Mail Boxes’ extensive range of services in Reading, which is home to many large corporations with national and regional headquarters.
The business thrived but Patrick wanted to address a gap in his customer base: despite Reading University being one of the top ten research universities in the UK, there was a surprising lack of customers from the campus-based enterprise and business park communities and, similarly, very few under-graduate customers coming to the Reading store.
These groups were all potential customers Patrick wanted to attract as he was confident they would want to use the services he offered. When he found that a suitable unit was available conveniently on campus he was keen to set up his second store there. Now the campus store is up and running, Patrick can offer the whole range of Mail Box services, including the two most popular at the university; packing and shipping and document printing and binding. The store caters for students, academics and businesses based on site. With a manager running the town outlet, Patrick has become more involved in the university store and is concentrating his efforts on this for the immediate future.
He comments: “I think Mail Boxes Etc. is great, not least because of the myriad of services that we can offer our customers. For some franchisees, Mail Boxes Etc. is a lifestyle business and for others it is a genuine opportunity to build up a substantial enterprise with several stores. The beauty of the MBE franchise is that everyone can be their own business person.”
“We get great support from head office, particularly with creative materials and new marketing initiatives. We also develop our own materials and commission brochures and other
print items,” he added. Chris Gillam, who heads Mail Boxes Etc.’s franchisee recruitment, said: “We recognise the need to consider alternatives to our traditional High Street locations, which we have always favoured. The introduction of campus-based stores and second satellite stores seems a very sensible way of serving our wide and growing customer base, particularly in a rapidly changing retail environment.”