In 1991 we opened a mail & parcel center in Merrick, NY (private PO boxes, packing, shipping, business services, etc). Six months later, just as we were starting to get rolling, a national franchise mail & parcel business opened up down the block claiming they didn’t know we existed. We were devistated. How could “little-guys” like us compete against a huge company like them? I’m sure they planned to just roll over us.
However, they underestimated our resolve. For the next two years, we played the role of that pesky little gnat that just wouldn’t go away. We advertised where they advertised and targeted markets they never considered. Some hit, some missed. By 1993, it dawned on us how many phone calls we had received asking if we sold actual mailboxes. Discovering a need for unique residential mailboxes on Long Island was our come-to-the-light moment.
There was no competition in the residential mailbox market at that time. We started making high-end contemporary-style cedar mailboxes ourselves, but the real name of the game back in those early years was locating anyone anywhere in the country who made unique residential mailboxes. These were the pre-internet years when finding anything was an endless research project, but slowly it started to come together. We found Colony Metalsmiths in Va who made beautiful brass and painted metal wall mailboxes. There was Ted from Gaines Manufacturing in California who made the most beautiful Classic Mailbox (still available today) and Tom Janzer from PA who developed a network of dealer/installers across the country to sell his exclusive line of upscale residential mailboxes. Looking back on it now, I think Tom Janzer was the grandfather of this whole specialty business. He sold me on the idea, and certainly anyone else he spoke to, that a person could build a business around just selling and installing residential mailboxes.
For us… the franchise mail & parcel center owner eventually bought out our Merrick mail and parcel center (who incidently went out of business a year later) and we were free to pursue an exterior decor business with an emphasis on residential mailboxes. About the same time we opened our first retail store in 1995, we discovered something called the “internet” and the rest is history. A local retail specialty store and a national on-line decorative exterior decor company were born.
Beginning in 2008, with the internet starting to really dominate the market, we opted to close our last retail store and dive head-first into the cyber business world. And the rest is history.