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Mail Boxes Etc. could see trouble from strike

August 06, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - For Mail Boxes Etc., the United Parcel Service strike could put a serious dent in operations if it lasts for more than a few days.

"It hasn't been really bad today, but the shipping part of the business really stinks," Michelle Koester, the manager of the store at 480 Williamsport Pike, said Monday.

"We do things for the post office, but the bulk of it, I'd say 98 percent, is with UPS," Koester said.

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She said the business is an authorized UPS shipping center and does some faxing and copying in addition to packaging and shipping.

On Monday, the first day of the strike, Koester said her store had "been doing a lot of FedEx and shipping through the post office. We can do that in an emergency."

She said on a typical day her store ships about 25 packages, but Monday the figure was about 10.

"We have a few customers that stuck with UPS" and are holding their packages in the expectation the strike will end soon, she said.

Koester has one full-time employee and two part-time workers at her franchise. She said there are hundreds of Mail Boxes Etc. stores across the country, including Winchester, Va., Frederick, Md., and Hagerstown.

While Federal Express and other shippers can pick up some of the slack in an extended UPS strike, the company ships 12 million packages a day, a figure too large for the competitors to absorb, she said.

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