By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Jason and Bridgette Santo had long and successful Army careers that spanned the globe. When they decided to settle in North Alabama after retiring from the service, they knew there was something special about our town, and they wanted to start their entrepreneurial lives here. They researched several franchise opportunities and finally selected UPS as their choice. They did so largely because of how much the parent company and the franchises give back to the community, which is completely consistent with the Santos’ values. The Athens UPS Store is located right near Starbuck’s at 1260 Hwy 72 E, Ste B in Athens. They managed to open up shop in the midst of COVID, and had planned to have their grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration long before now. But, “good things come to those who wait,” and they are finalizing their plans for a party that will include great food and generous prize drawings. It will be held on October 22, and the Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting will be at 10 a.m.

Jason and Bridgette have both expressed deep appreciation for how the community of Athens has welcomed them, patronized their business, and made them feel right at home. Interestingly, they were also the ones who sold the corporation on the idea of opening up a new store in Athens. There had been no plans to do so, but because of the “Athens Awesomeness” that we all know and feel, the corporation pulled the trigger, and it has been a great fit for everyone.

So, what does a UPS store in general, and the Santos’ shop in particular, do to serve the people of Athens? In a word, Jason says that they are “your small business solution.” UPS is already well known for giving the USPS a run for its money in terms of on-time deliveries, prices, and service. The price of a UPS mailbox is comparable to one at the post office, and instead of a P.O. box, you get a real address. The access to the mailboxes is protected after hours, and you can get your mail 24/7. That is only one of the many services offered by their store. The store packs, ships, does printing, makes banners, and can assist you with marketing campaigns, large and small. They can help you with recruiting for your own business; they provide notary service and can help with accounting, expense tracking, direct mail, financial services, telecommunications, and even business coaching. Just remember, whenever you see the famous brown UPS truck out making deliveries, the company that is behind that driver in the brown uniform has the ability to highly impact your success as a business owner, and abundantly meet your needs as an everyday consumer.

The UPS store also has recently added a graphic designer to their staff, so if you are just getting started in your entrepreneurial endeavor or are in need of a “refresh” for your business cards or other graphics, they are ready to serve you.

Because Jason and Bridgette are veterans, they greatly enjoy being able to give back to veterans’ organizations. Recently they made flyers for a Horse, Pony and Mule Fun Day sponsored by AMVETS. They also love to help out schools and churches whenever possible.

The details for the party have now been finalized, and Happi Pappi Beignets will be on hand for the festivities. HPB dishes their deliciousness from their food truck. They describe beignets as “a classic French doughnut,” and theirs have been “carefully crafted to delight each customer.” The closest cousin to a beignet is a fritter dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and now that it is fall, Happi Pappi’s has also added hot pumpkin spice café au lait to the menu; a perfect combination. If you go on the Happi Pappi Facebook page you will see they are in demand all over North Alabama, and Jason and Bridgette are so glad that they were able to get HPB to come and help us celebrate.

The UPS Store will also have drawings for some dandy prizes at the party. First prize will be a $50 in-store gift card good for any service offered by UPS. The second prize will be a $25 gift card that can be used in the same manner. The third prize will be a UPS mug custom-designed by Randy McKinney of Athens Athletics.

So, save the date, and come join Athens in FINALLY officially welcoming the UPS store to our neighborhood. You’ll be glad you did!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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