What would it look like if your favorite business or establishment went from being operated by a large corporation, to being run by a local individual? How would that change things; would it even change things? Would you be even more apt to support that business knowing one of your neighbors was now running things? Whatever your answers were for those questions, keep them in mind as you read this feature; it would be interesting to see if your responses stay the same or change by the end of the article!
Today, we’re joined by Sara Jones O’Connor. For several years, Sara acted as the manager of Goin’ Postal packing and shipping center. However, in August of 2018, Sara was able to take ownership of the business from Beehive Broadband (the previous owners) after moving the store to their current location on Idaho St. next to Domino’s pizza. She went from running the show for a corporation to running the show for herself, and we’re excited to see how her first six months as the boss have transpired!
Sara, thank you for joining us this week. First, can you please share a little bit about your background? Second, what was the experience like when you took over ownership of Goin’ Postal?
“After moving around a lot growing up, my family came to Elko in the mid-’90s, during my senior year of high school; I graduated from Elko High. After that, I did the normal thing of getting married and having kids. I ended up getting a divorce, so I decided to go back to school and get my associate degree. However, I was a single mom for most of that time, so that meant having to figure life out and make ends meet.
“Since then, I’ve gotten remarried. When the offer came to take over Goin’ Postal, my husband told me that was my chance to use my degree and take an enormous entrepreneurial opportunity. It was an opportunity I probably would have never received if it wasn’t for Beehive. They made it very easy for me to purchase the business from them; everything went pretty smooth when it came to switching it all over. However, I still had to learn through some major business experiences in just the first two weeks of being the owner, but what doesn’t kill us makes us super strong!”
Can you give us an overview as to what you’re all about at Goin’ Postal, especially now that you’re at the helm?
“We try to be a friendly shipping center. We want your time with us to be fun; we never want anyone to leave feeling like they had an awful experience. However, many people don’t know about all the things we do. Yes, we do the packing and shipping, but we do so much more. We do FedEx, UPS, stamps, faxing, we have a notary, scan to email, we can laminate on a small scale, and we have the personal and business mailboxes. We’re a one-stop shop; we want to make suggestions and educate our customers on what may be best for them having made a mistake or two ourselves, along the way. We try to help Elko with all the really hard stuff someone would normally have to go to several places to take care of. To me, this is not just a job because we help people with things that may not seem important but are necessary.”
Sara, in your first few months in your new role, what have you learned to love? On the flip side, what has been the biggest struggle for you so far?
“I love our customers. They’re who make things worth it; without them, we wouldn’t be here. We have customers with mailboxes that have been here longer than I have! I love that we have people who love us! I struggle the most with being new. There’s so much about owning a business I did not know; I have several years of experience managing one, but owning one is totally different.”
Finally, if someone has not been into Goin’ Postal since it was under Beehive’s ownership, what can they come to expect now that you’re in charge? Are there any significant differences?
“A lot of it’s the same, except I now know what’s going on in the back end as well as the front. I have options and opportunities I can give the customer. I have the authority to tell somebody, who made need help, I can give them a little bit of a break; if the same situation had to go through a huge corporation, that might not have been the case. For a corporation, it may be all about paper, numbers, and reports. For me, it’s about the community. I love Elko. This town has been the only place I’ve ever been able to call home.”
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See you around, Elko!