In some ways, the decision to open a UPS store in Tumwater is kind of a homecoming for franchise owner Jack Graham. Graham grew up in Port Angeles and once lived in Puyallup, so what’s the connection to Tumwater?
Years ago he spent his summers working at the Tyee Motor Inn, a once-popular Tumwater destination for lawmakers. It was known for hosting large, convention-style gatherings. Graham said he remains forever impressed to have once seen 600 people seated for dinner. That was in 1979 and 1980, after which Graham completed his degree in hotel administration at Washington State University in 1982.
From there, Graham pursued his chosen career: He worked for a hotel in Des Moines; he worked as an assistant general manager and general manager at Godfather’s Pizza; he worked for a McDonald’s food distributor; he managed a Starbucks. He later had the opportunity to become a franchise owner of a UPS store in Redmond and stuck with it, enjoying the connections he made with customers.
But he also had a girlfriend in Lewis County, and the Redmond to Chehalis commute was a doozy, he said.
He finally decided to move closer by selling his UPS store and his condominium, and now he lives in Curtis, Lewis County.
The store location works well because it’s in the heart of Tumwater’s retail core, he said. It has the right traffic count, and it’s across from Costco, Walmart and Fred Meyer.
After that, it’s up to Graham and his employees to offer the best customer service. Graham said he learned that from his father, a former bank president of First Federal Savings and Loan in Port Angeles.
“Your word is your bond,” said Graham, 57.
Among his services: domestic and international shipping, wide-format printing, packaging, and mailbox and postal services. He also rents mailboxes that will have 24/7 access once he gets the security gate in place. It’s a UPS store, so UPS trucks stop by twice a day for air and ground shipping. The U.S. Postal Service visits daily as well.
There are more than 4,000 UPS store locations throughout the U.S., and the company is based in San Diego, he said.
As a franchise owner, Graham said, “you work for yourself, but not by yourself,” citing the support he gets from the company. Still, opening a franchise or any small business requires a significant investment.
“You put it all on the table,” Graham said.
The UPS Store Tumwater
▪ Owner: Jack Graham.
▪ Location: 5729 Littlerock Road SW, No. 107, Tumwater
▪ Years in business: New. Store opened April 19.
▪ Type of business: Offers a variety of services tied to shipping, packing, copying and mailing.
▪ Employees: Two, with plans to add staff.
▪ Online: tinyurl.com/Tumwater-UPS.
▪ Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
▪ Did you know? Jack Graham owned a UPS store in Redmond for six years before he sold the business and bought the Tumwater location. “I’m looking forward to making some new friends,” he said.