Pandemic impacts shipping business in different ways The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Pandemic impacts shipping business in different ways

Pandemic impacts shipping business in different ways
Business
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TRIBUNE NEWS STAFF

In an age of social distancing when an email just won’t do it, Susan Haws runs the kind of business people look for.

Owner of Star Mail at 1496 N. Higley Road, Gilbert, since 2015, the Mesa woman runs a retail pack-and-ship business that provides a wide range of others services – such as fingerprinting, document shredding and notarization, laminating and binding – as well as retail for things like gift wrap.

But because Star Mail ships both domestically and internationally, it’s that service that a pandemic makes especially useful if they want to extend a token of love, friendship or congratulations to someone they can’t give in person because of travel restrictions or COVID-19 concerns in general.

“With graduation and wedding season upon us, more of us are helping people celebrate from a distance,” said Haws.

Of course, the pandemic also has posed challenges for Haws as it has for almost all businesses.

“Like every small business this has been a hard time but we have worked together as a team and have been grateful that we were able to remain open,” she said.

“We require social distancing of customers,” Haws added.” If there are too many people for social distancing people have had to wait outside or come back in a little while. We have considered putting marks on the floor but have not done it yet as customers have been compliant.”

She said some have called ahead and requested curbside delivery for things like picking up mail or sending a parcel, adding “We request customers and staff to monitor their health and if they have symptoms of COVID-19, to reschedule.”

As for her staff of four, masks and gloves are the order of the day, Haws said.

“We regularly wash hands and sanitize surfaces,” she added. “We are lucky and all staff remain healthy.”

Haws said that now that more people are turning to sending a little love instead of bringing it, there are some things they should keep in mind.

For example, if you’re sending gift cards, put an extra stamp on the envelope and mark “please hand stamp” on it.

“Gift cards are inflexible and could cause the machinery to shred your envelope and many other people’s mail behind yours,” Haws explained. “Then when the postal workers sort through the ripped pieces of mail, they have no means of telling which envelope the gift card came from. So, the card pieces in the plastic bag with the apology note on it that arrives will not contain a gift card.”

Haws also advised people to think about what they’re sending, warning that fun gifts that are cheap when they’re given in person can be expensive if they’re shipped.

“The smaller lighter package costs less to ship,” she said, “or choose something that fits in a flat rate priority box as this way the weight is no longer a concern.”

“Size does matter in packages,” Haws continued. “It costs more. It takes up more space in vehicles and airplanes. So, the art your child painted for Aunt Mabel will cost significantly less to ship if it is rolled than if it is framed.”

Some everyday items have restrictions, need special labeling or are not shippable without special licenses, Haws advised, “so make sure you let the Post Office or shipping store know the contents of your package. No shipping nail polish. Who knew?”

For those who do plan to travel, Haws said they might want to ship those gifts anyway since they lighten luggage – and could lower baggage fees.

“I shipped a fragile wedding gift ahead of my flight to attend a friend’s wedding,” Haws said. “I was so glad.”

That said, she added, “While we would like to ship everything for everyone, sometimes taking things with you is just worth the extra effort. I advised a customer planning an international trip to take any medications and supplements with her even if it might be an extra fee or time at the airport.

“Especially in these uncertain times, you don’t want your meds delayed in customs.”

Information: starmailaz.com, starmailaz@gmail.com or 480-830-7827. 

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