One of the oldest businesses in downtown Olympia recently celebrated 17 years of ownership. It’s not a restaurant, and it’s not a bar. It’s The Mailbox, a business owned by Dave and Kimberly Platt since February 2000.
But as Dave points out, it’s much older than that: The business has called Olympia home since 1980.
Dave said The Mailbox, which operated under a slightly different name, opened on Union Avenue near where the Washington State Employees Credit Union is today.
The Mailbox, if you’re still scratching your head, offers a variety of services: Private mailbox rentals, bulk mailing, printing and public notary services. It also makes keys. It has some retail items, such as packaging materials and other products for mailing or office needs.
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But the rise of the internet has cut into the retail side of his business, which led Dave, 56, to expand into bulk mailing. What is he often asked to ship? Art work, he said, a reflection of the artists at work in downtown Olympia.
Before the Platts bought the business, Dave worked as a paint and wallpaper contractor, which required a lot of travel. He grew to dislike the job because he wanted to be at home with his family at night rather than on the road.
“I still enjoy going to work,” he said about The Mailbox, “but I did not enjoy going to work at my last job.”
After the Platts bought the business, his wife, Kimberly, worked alongside him for 13 to 14 years. Now, it’s just Dave. He’s also thought about moving the business at times but realizes downtown is where he wants to be. If he needs to go to the bank, he can walk. And if he needs to run some other kind of errand, well, he can walk there, too.
The Mailbox has 350 to 450 private mailboxes, he said. They appeal to young people who move a lot, to those with home-based offices, and to those who travel or choose to live in RVs, Platt said. He charges quarterly for the mailboxes.
Having private mailboxes means providing customer keys. And when they needed replacement keys, Dave decided to get into the key business. Customers have 24/7 access to their mailboxes, he said.
Mailbox renter Michael Bishop visited the store during the interview. A longtime customer, Bishop said the business under Platt ownership is “10 times better than it ever was.”
“The mail is always out by 10 a.m., and he reminds me about packages,” he said.
Owners: Dave and Kimberly Platt
Location: 120 State Ave., Olympia
Type of business: Rents private mailboxes. Other services: bulk mailing, printing and public notary services. The business also makes keys and sells office supplies
Years in business: The Mailbox opened in 1980. The Platts have owned it since Feb. 1, 2000.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays
Did you know? Before the Platts bought the business, Dave Platt worked as a paint and wallpaper contractor. The job required a lot of travel, up and down the West Coast, and as far east as Nebraska. “That’s a lot of windshield time,” he said.