Gay-owned UPS store on Lemmon Avenue branches out into printing while delivering community service to earn Business of the Year honor
Jamie Sloan always wanted to own his own business. Now he co-owns the UPS Store on Lemmon Avenue, selected as Business of the Year by the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
As a financial advisor, Sloan said his job “was truly missing the entrepreneurial side” of his career goals.
In February 2010, he teamed up with friend Rick Adams, an insurance broker, to purchase the store, at 4848 Lemmon Ave. He said he selected the store as his first owned business because of UPS’ branding and reputation.
After taking ownership, the two faced business strategy challenges as the store was in the bottom 10 percent among the regional 80 UPS stores for revenue.
Now, after two years of long days and “getting out and knowing the customers in the area,” the store is one of the top five stores regionally, Sloan said.
The store is also among the top three for printing in the larger region that includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, Adams said. Printing will remain a focus in the future, with the possibility of printing for other UPS stores. The pair is also interested in acquiring more stores.
A new16-foot printer helps the store meet high-volume demands. Adams said it’s the first store in the country to have the printer, which is housed in a nearby commercial print production facility.
“Everyone knows UPS shipping, but rarely do people know we do printing,” Adams said, adding that the store has taken everything from simple printing needs to printing catalogues and newsletters for commercial companies.
Back in 2010, Sloan said about 80 percent of revenue came from shipping with less than 1 percent from printing. Now about 57 percent is shipping with 30 percent of revenue from printing, tripling the total store revenue within the two years of ownership, Adams said.
The store is also the first UPS store and second printing company in the country that is certified by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as an LGBT-owned enterprise, Sloan said.
Sloan said the award highlights the store’s growth and the amount of involvement in the community with the support of several organizations and programs such as Lone Star Ride and AIDS Interfaith Network, including the chamber’s scholarship and leadership development organization, GLBT LEAP.
“As small business owners, we want to make sure that individuals from our community are able to go and pursue further education or technical training so that they can be the future leaders,” Sloan said. “It’s important for us to be a successful business, but probably the most important thing is that we give back and are good stewards to the community that supports us.”
Tony Vedda, president and CEO of the GLBT Chamber, said a committee of seven former award recipients selected the five category winners from 28 applications.
The selection of the store for Business of the Year was because of its “stunning application,” based in part on the financial and innovative growth by embracing the newer model of UPS store with a focus on printing.
Another major aspect of the award is community service, which Vedda said the store had a strong focus on.
The award represents the “sense of accomplishment” that has made their hard work in expanding the business worth it, Adams said.
Sloan echoed those sentiments, saying that the recognition reflects the teamwork of the seven full-time employees to meet the needs of every customer.
“It’s a team environment, and we play as a team,” he said
GLBT Chamber awards dinner
The UPS store will be among the honorees at the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce Seventh Anniversary and Business Excellence Awards Dinner. The dinner is from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at the Adolphus Hotel. To register, visit TinyUrl.com/7myozt5.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 23, 2012.