Pony Express/Mail Made Easy at Local Shipping Center
by Nathan Oravec
When shipping center Pony Mailbox opened its doors over nine years ago in Hagerstown, it was to offer citizens a postal alternative. Offering private mailboxes as well as UPS and FedEx shipping, Pony soon proved its Mailbox moniker. With copying services, faxes, money orders, pagers, passport photos, key duplication, lamination, labels, notary public services, and more - the company then quickly established itself among area residents as a one-stop shop for all mail and business needs. Because of its small, dedicated staff, it soon became known for building personable, reliable customer relations.
This July, Pony, under new ownership, made a move from its familiar former digs, 623 Dual Highway in the Ames Shopping Center, to a brand new location, 345 East Antietam Street. Located behind the Venice Inn, right next door to Sign Here and sharing office space with the Tri-State’s premiere community interest publication, The Picket News, the business received a new look - and a new name. Now known as the Pony Postal Center, the company has experienced some monumental changes of operation.
Luckily for its customers - where service is concerned - some things never change.
“Pony is a customer service oriented type of business,” says Manager Patricia Weedon. “We try to treat customers as individuals,” she continues, noting that many, throughout the years, have become well known by the staff, and are now on a first-name basis, making for a friendlier, more personal visit. “I personally try to greet everyone with a smile.”
Additionally, with recent downtown construction, a quick trip to the Post Office has become somewhat difficult, making Pony’s convenience all the more appealing. “We don’t have the long lines the Post Office has,” notes Weedon. “Customers are given the option of who they want to ship with. We have three different types of rates - FedEx, UPS, and regular mail - all priced reasonably so you don’t have to spend a lot of money. We also package a lot of different types of items. If you don’t have the time or materials to package something yourself, we can do it for you.” Whereas the Post Office may offer limited resources where packaging is concerned, “We have everything here, for those items that need that extra something.”
The environment, Weedon believes, is also more pleasant, “especially now that we’ve moved.” Brighter lighting, a larger lobby, and increased countertop space help to make Pony more accommodating for customers, while a loading dock and expanded storage make things more accessible for the staff. While minor controversy has risen concerning parking, Weedon attests that it is ample, with access along Antietam Street as well as a front lot. “Customers will see, once they get in.”
Not simply a shipping center, Pony offers services such as money orders and wire transfer Moneygrams, typing (resumes, letters, flyers, etc.), business cards & stationary printing, wedding invitations, and passport photos, as well as the sales of a number of office supply and business items.
Mainly, Weedon notes, customers come for stamps and copies, shipping and packaging. And when it comes to the latter, she has seen it all. “Animals,” she says, “stuffed. A deer’s head... a minx... a raccoon... We’ve [even] shipped live birds,” she adds with a laugh.
But, she stresses, while birds were the order of the day once upon a time, “I enjoy working with people.”
“If you have such a good relationship with a customer that when they see you out in public they come over and say hi and talk to you, it’s a good thing - you must be doing something right.”
The Pony Postal Center has extended its operating hours, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday. During the holiday season, hours are extended to accommodate busy shoppers. For more information, call Pony at 301-714-0470. Pony Postal Center is located at 345 East Antietam Street, Hagerstown, MD - behind the Venice Inn, in the same building as Sign Here and The Picket News.