TEWKSBURY – Eleven years ago, Hanson Bechat cleared out his savings and 401k to start a shipping business.
He had worked as an Operations Manager for FedEx DHL and Sorting Agent at UPS with the downfall of the economy, his salary was not keeping up with his expenses and he was eventually laid off from his position at DHL. Bechat considered a purchasing a franchise or starting his own business from scratch.
Ultimately, Bechat decided to start from square one after seeing the many restrictions of a franchise agreement.
“It was a big risk,” he said. “I was very nervous, but I decided, hey, if I treat everybody that walks through that door like me – being honest transparent and giving them a choice – I thought people would realize that there is a value for that service.”
In 2007, Bechat opened the doors to Neighborhood Parcel on Main Street in Tewksbury. At the modest location, customers could ship their mail through UPS, FedEx or DHL. For most Andover, Lowell, Dracut, Billerica, Wilmington, and Tewksbury MA, the company is an international gateway to international residents. Neighborhood Parcel keeps them connected with their loved ones through their international shipping services and DHL network.
Since its opening, Neighborhood Parcel has added two more carriers, the U.S. Postal Service and UPS, and other services, including document shredding and destruction, mail forwarding, notarizing documents and more.
About Neighborhood Parcel
To accommodate its growing services, Neighborhood Parcel made the move to Middlesex Street in Lowell in 2010. Just about two years ago, Bechat moved the business back to Tewksbury and retained most of the Lowell customers. Now, the business is located at 1215 Main St. Bechat has been living in Tewksbury for the past 26 years and serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals, is a Lions Club member and more.
“I believe it was a very positive move because the location here allows for more growth,” said Bechat, the CEO, and founder of the company. “We have more space here, free parking so that was all good from a customer retention perspective.”
A variety of services and the ability to compare prices of the four carriers are just two aspects Bechat credits the company’s success and growth with. But above all, Bechat said his passion for his work is what comes through.
“The most rewarding part for me is the joy of knowing that that gift gets delivered on time or that sales agreement gets delivered across the Atlantic on time. I find a sense of pride when I help people,” he said. “There’s a lot of customers that come through here and every package has a story behind it. We ship documents here that needed to be in Iraq in two days because that property needed to be sold.”
On top of Neighborhood Parcel‘s domestic customers, they’ve also got clients overseas to use the business’ mailbox services to collect their United States mail. These clients are scattered throughout the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Spain, across Latin America, and more.
Comfort Chieh, a shipment supervisor, has been working for Neighborhood Parcel since around 2013 when they were still based in Lowell. She credits the growth and success of the business being a one-stop place for many services.
“There are so many services we provide here that even if you don’t know what you want to do if you come in, there’s something that you can do here. Whether you need a fax, printing, buy shipping materials, package something,” Chieh said. “It’s really one-stop shopping for business and people who do business.”
The sentimental value of her role is important to her. Chieh said her daily interactions with her customers and Bechat make her want to do her best as a valued employee.
“When you ship something to someone, that shows you care – more than a letter, more than a Facebook message,” Chieh said. “If you see something that you really like and you want to send it to somebody, that memento, that little gift, it means a lot.
“Knowing how important packages are to people, it means a lot to me. And just being a part of that makes me feel good every day,” she added.
The company of fewer than 12 employees places an emphasis on customer service and feedback. Bechat said the idea to include shredding services was actually a customer recommendation they pursued back in 2009.
Bechat encourages people and businesses to come in and find out what they’re all about. He said they’ve got a diverse, “with a capital D,” menu of services. The goal in the next few years is to add one or two more locations and to franchise the business at a later date.
“I feel very proud of what I have accomplished so far. I know the company has a tremendous potential,” he said. “We are still growing. We’re building the empire one step at a time. I don’t want to lose track of the growth. I want to make sure it is a controlled growth.”
To learn more about Neighborhood Parcel, visit www.neighborhoodparcel.com.
Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.