Trust is the thread that connects Dale Martinez's two business ventures – his Mail Boxes Etc. franchises and Allelulia, a rehabilitation program for the developmentally disabled.
With an emphasis on family involvement, it's a theme also in evidence within the enterprises.
"We rely on each other," says Mr. Martinez, a Reedley, California, native who opened the first of his three Mail Boxes Etc. locations in April of 1995. "A lot of family members are involved in both organizations, particularly Mail Boxes Etc."
Mr. Martinez's father, Dale Sr., handles accounting; his mother, Lupe, is in charge of marketing; and his brother, David, coordinates training. Mr. Martinez's older children, Paula, 16, and Dale III, 13, work part time. Their younger siblings, Matthew, 10, and Kyrstyn, 4, are likely to follow suit.
The Martinezes' interest in franchising with Mail Boxes Etc. was a natural extension of their involvement in Allelulia. The program – which includes four Reedley homes, serving 24 residents – needed a place to perform typical office functions, such as transmitting faxes, making copies, and posting overnight packages.
But the joining of rehab program and business service center didn't end there. Mr. Martinez began integrating his Allelulia clients into the work force through Mail Boxes Etc., giving them jobs preparing packages and cleaning the centers.
Mr. Martinez's decision to venture into Mail Boxes Etc. franchising was also the stuff of business calculation. Reedley, a town of around 25,000 in California's Central Valley, is an expanding market, as is Fresno, about 75 miles northeast.
"When the opportunities arose in Fresno, and several centers there became available in prime locations, we felt it was very important to position ourselves for that opportunity," Mr. Martinez says. "We wanted to capitalize on that, to expand into the Fresno market.
"We wanted to diversify what we were doing. We looked into different franchises, looked in Fortune Magazine, and saw that Mail Boxes Etc. was one of the biggest franchisers at the time, other than restaurant or food services. That field can be very competitive. We wanted something that worked with what we were doing with the Allelulia programs."
Fresno has five Mail Boxes Etc. locations; Mr. Martinez operates two. He opts for a different approach in Reedley, a tightly knit, smaller community with some private enterprises in his field, than in Fresno, an agriculturally based university town, which Mr. Martinez feels is making an attempt to lure larger companies.
"There's a lot more competitors in Fresno, and we have to have more of an aggressive style to compete with some of those other, larger businesses out there," he says. "We feel there's a potential to develop more centers in Fresno."
Mr. Martinez cites a number of reasons for optimism. California businesses can benefit from being based in California's Central Valley, a location that essentially slices travel time between Northern and Southern California in half. Fresno and surrounding areas are quickly accessible from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and paid wages are lower in the Central Valley.
He foresees growth within the industry as well. In particular, he says Mail Boxes Etc. can play a role in the evolution of Internet merchandising.
"People are going to be purchasing items over the Internet more often," Mr. Martinez said. "It's a different scope of vendors. Those items need to get physically to the customer and Mail Boxes Etc. can be a part of that. We can be the physical drop-off point. We can capitalize on being part of that commerce." – Eli Pacheco
Mail Boxes Etc.
Retail business, communications, and postal service center
Number of franchises
Total annual revenues
Over $1.4 billion
All 50 states, 62 countries
Mail Boxes Etc.
6060 Cornerstone Court West
San Diego, CA 92121-3795
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