HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The U.S. Postal service has rolled out a new service and they are pledging to help small businesses get their products to customers faster and for less.
The service is called USPS Connect. It is part of the Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America plan, which is a draft to improve performance and promote a self-sustaining service.
Three branches make up the service: National, Regional and Local. In Alabama, USPS Connect Local has taken effect in 49 post offices throughout the state.
“It allows the Post Office to be a vital member of the local community again,” USPS MPOO Arthur Bowens said.
The way it works is a business owner registers to take part. Then, for any shipment being sent to an address within the ZIP code of that participating post office, there are a number of guarantees from USPS.
If a business signs up at usps.com and creates a free business account, they have access to the following:
Guaranteed same-day delivery if a package is dropped off at the post office between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
- Guaranteed next-day delivery for all other local shipments
- Sunday delivery (in certain locations)
- Free package pickup from storefront
- Special rates based on package sizes
- Included shipping supplies (optional)
- Tracking visibility
“It allows low-cost, same day and next day local delivery. It’s affordable for one,” Bowens said. “It allows the smaller businesses to be competitive with some of the larger corporations and make the major drops with us.”
Jonathan Fowler is the owner and designer for Fow Wow Designs, based in Huntsville. The business creates one-of-a-kind apparel, from shirts and hats to mugs and stickers.
“We do a lot of unique, quirky local designs for Huntsville and Alabama area,” Fowler said.
Fow Wow ships everywhere, but 80% of their orders stay in the Huntsville area. They almost exclusively use USPS, so when Fowler learned of this new USPS service, he was thrilled.
“It’s a struggle, being a small business in general but trying to get our costs down, especially with shipping. You mess one order up, compared to Amazon, they have millions of orders going around. If they mess one up then it just kind of gets lost, but one of our orders it means a lot to us,” Fowler said.
To keep customers coming back, being reliable is a ‘must.’
“There are so many other places people can go and so we want to make sure when we do ship something out we’re having minimal issues or none at all if possible,” Fowler said.
He said at some points during the pandemic, especially during the holidays, he and his family would be working at all hours to get shipments out on time. Then, with a nationwide lag in deliveries last year, he said it could’ve impacted business, but he said he’s grateful for an understanding customer base.
“I just want to give a big shout-out to the community and everyone that supports our weird brand.”
Now, he’s optimistic those days are in the past.
“It all goes back to trying to be reliable,” Fowler said. “To make [deliveries] easier and take that off our backs it’s really going to help us out.”
In the Tennessee Valley, here are the participating offices:
- Athens Post Office, 1110 W Market St, Athens, AL 35611
- Florence Post Office, 210 N Seminary St, Florence, AL 35630
- Harvest Post Office, 9157 Wall Triana Hwy, Harvest, AL 35749
- Haysland Post Office, 8401 Whitesburg Dr. SE, Huntsville, AL 35802
- West Post Office, 3605 Governors Dr. SW, Huntsville, AL 35805
- Wynn Drive Post Office, 645 Wynn Dr. NW, Huntsville, AL 35816
- Madison Post Office, 56 Hughes Rd, Madison, AL 35758
- Owens Cross Roads Post Office, 8396 Highway 431 S, Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763