Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Donna Flanagin, owner of Flanagin's Bulk Mail Service, a business founded in 1996 that mails out postcards, magazines, newsletters and more, explains how this image represents her business.
Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service was started in 1996 as a spin-off of our existing secretarial service. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary, thanks to my daughters Erica George and Monica Decker, and some truly amazing employees. The mainstay of our business is mailing out postcards, magazines, newsletter and the like for our customers which in turn are delivered directly into your mail box.
One of our biggest challenges as a small business is to let people know that there is a lot of postage money and countless man hours to be saved by using a bulk mail service. For example, in 2015 we saved our customers collectively over $750,000. That's money that would have been given to the post office, but was re-directed back to our customers.
In 2008 I attended a Disney Institute business program, and it changed everything. One of many takeaways was to separate the reception area from the mail processing area for our guests. The idea was to give our customers a unique, unforgettable experience with each visit. It started with one simple wall, two windows and some awnings. That change immediately gave the area an outdoor feel, so we added a park bench and a lamp post, and the idea for a mini main street was born. My daughter Erica was the designer, carpenter, and creative genius behind the whole project.
Our first façade was the post office, apropos to our business. Then we added a candy store, a barber shop, a bakery, a seamstress shop, a train station, a cinema, and a general store. There are two fascinating things about our main street: First there are over 30 disguised items in the decor that tell the history of our company, and second, it is constructed primarily of repurposed, recycled and re-used items.
With each visit, our customers experience main street music playing, bakery scents flowing and train whistles blowing, and we even warm up tootsie rolls as a treat for our guests. Although some may say our mini main street has no direct correlation to our services, it has everything to do with our customers which we believe are the heartbeat of our business.