#5 on the Franchise 500: The UPS Store Gets a Consumer-Friendly Makeover

The #5 company on our Franchise 500 list fights off old-age with constant reinvention.

This story appears in the January 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Started franchising: 1980   

Total units: 5,071   

Cost to open: $168.9K–$398.3K

Courtesy of the UPS Store

The UPS Store has more than 5,000 units, but an intriguing thing has been happening at five of them. They’ve been remade with an open floor plan, so customers can see every aspect of the packing and printing process. There’s also a dedicated area for project consultations, and a new color scheme.

Is this the future of all UPS Stores? We’ll see. It’s the next phase in the brand’s three-year study of what its customers value, which it’s translating into test redesigns. “Our existing [store] format is fine -- it works really well -- so we don’t want it to be aged by the time we really get into where we go next,” says company president Tim Davis. In 2019, the new design will roll out to 20 more locations.

Related: The UPS Store Is Looking to Redefine the Word 'Store'

This kind of constant evolution has helped The UPS Store thrive in a digital age, and, as a result, has kept it in the top 10 of our Franchise 500 for three years running. The shipping giant is familiar with change, going back to its 2001 purchase of Mail Boxes Etc., when it went through one of the most significant rebrands in franchise history. And in 2016, it invested heavily into a “store within a store” concept -- putting freestanding UPS Stores in pharmacies, hardware stores, and other retail spaces. That continues to pay off, Davis says: In 2018, about 19 percent of The UPS Store’s bookings came from nontraditional locations, compared with 15 percent the year before. 

Related: The Top 5 Business Service Franchises From the Franchise 500

In September, it also debuted a new marketing campaign to tout its breadth of services that go “beyond shipping,” such as shredding, notarizing, and more. “We’re not a one-trick-pony business,” says Davis.

To see our complete Franchisee 500 rankings, please click here, or view more stories here.

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