A local couple is taking over The UPS Store franchise in New Bern from longtime franchisees Pat Drake and Mack Paul, who are retiring after nearly 25 years in business.
Jim and Middleton Hinckley of New Bern will take over management of the store around the end of April. An Open House will be held at the store at 1822 S. Glenburnie Road, New Bern, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, celebrating the new owners as well as the retirement of the previous owners.
The New Bern store has 1,200 square feet of floor space and employs three full-time and two part-time workers, in addition to the owners.
Jim and Middleton Hinckley discovered The UPS Store franchise was available while looking for opportunities to operate their own small business.
“UPS Stores are franchised with local ownership,” Jim Hinckley said. “It’s a great small business model and I think local ownership is a valuable business attribute.”
The UPS Store locations offer domestic and international shipping, packaging, printing, mailbox services, postal services, drop-off shredding, moving supplies and other small-business services.
Jim Middleton has been spending April preparing for the transition, including two weeks at a training store in Florence, S.C., and two weeks at the corporate headquarters in San Diego, Calif.
“Pat and Mack run a great business,” he said. “We have a great staff in the store so we are excited about that and look forward to getting to know them. The UPS Store offers a lot of services so we’ll be looking for opportunities to grow.”
The Hinckleys have been in New Bern for seven years. They have three children, Brent age 13, Middy age 12, and Marshall age 8.
Jim Hinckley’s background is in car sales, while Middleton Hinckley has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University before starting a family.
“It’s a unique and wonderful town,” Middleton Hinckley said. “For us, The UPS Store is a great way to further our ties to New Bern and contribute to the community.”
Pat Drake moved to New Bern in 1994 from Long Island, N.Y., and opened the New Bern Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in September 1994 (Mail Boxes Etc. became The UPS Store starting in 2002).
She met Mack Paul a month later as a customer. He was a journalist working for the Pamlico News. They married in 1997 and Paul started working at the store in October 1997.
Pat Drake and Mack Paul are known for excellent customer service as well as community service. They were recipients of a Community Fabric Award from the Craven Community College Foundation in 2016, are active in the Tryon Civitan Club, and have helped collect food and diapers for Religious Community Services and the Salvation Army.
With that in mind, they were not interested in selling their franchise to someone who would simply run the business.
“We didn’t want to sell to just anyone,” said Mack Paul. “We wanted someone who would continue our tradition of being active in the community—and they fit the bill.”
“Following Pat and Mack is somewhat daunting,” Middleton Hinckley said. “They not only run a great business, but they are also involved in the community in so many positive ways. We bump into their work and contributions in the area everywhere we turn. We plan to continue our own involvement in the New Bern community as well as many of the contributions Pat and Mack are making through The UPS Store.”
“Pat and Mack have earned their tremendous reputation in the community,” Paul Hinckley said. “Every single person I talk to comments on their tremendous customer service and philanthropy. Community involvement is near and dear to my heart, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of maintaining their example.”
Pat Drake and Mack Paul will remain in the area and continue to make repairs to their home, which was damaged by Hurricane Florence.
“Someone asked if I was quitting the Tryon Civitan Club,” Mack Paul said. “Why would I do that?”
“We’re not moving away. This is still home,” Pat Drake said.