Athol gets UPS facility thanks to local entrepreneur

  • Debbie Allain-Thomas outside her Main Street shop. Greg Vine

  • Business owner Debbie Allain-Thomas stands in front of a sign announcing she has brought a United Parcel Service (UPS) facility to Athol, where customers will be able to do drop-offs, packing, and shipping. The new service is located at 1485 Main St., Athol. —Greg Vine

  • Athol business owner Debbie Allain-Thomas helps a customer at her business at 1485 Main St., Athol. Allain-Thomas now offers UPS services for customers dropping off packages, along with packing and shipping. She also has copy and fax services available. GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 9/5/2019 9:55:17 PM
Modified: 9/5/2019 9:55:07 PM

ATHOL – Debbie Allain-Thomas has been running a business of one kind or another in Athol for many years. However, the latest incarnation of what has been known – until now – as Else Wear, will include an affiliation with United Parcel Service and, if all goes according to plan, Federal Express.

An educator by training, Allain-Thomas said she has always had a drive to run her own business. As a young girl, she spent a lot of time at the Gardner Ten Pins, where her father Cy ran the snack bar. Watching him serving the public, ordering food and supplies, balancing the books, and meeting all the responsibilities of operating a small business piqued her interest in possibly owning her own operation someday.

“My first business opened in the year 2000,” she said, “and it was called Else Wear. It was a play on words; I was a clothing consignment store. I started at the Hillcrest Plaza in Orange, then moved to downtown Athol. I was only able to commit limited hours to it because at the time I was a full-time teacher. Luckily, I was able to convince family to help out at the store.”

She said her ultimate goal was to buy property where she could house her business. In 2011, she decided on purchasing the building at 1485 Main Street.

“This place was actually my first choice,” said Allain-Thomas. “It’s just this building. The rest of the building is Diane Lincoln’s. It was the old bar. It didn’t even have running water when I bought it.”

In the intervening years, Allain-Thomas change from a clothing consignment operation to selling giftware, brand new clothing, sterling silver jewelry, and other items.

“About two or three years ago I started selling on Amazon. Then, about a year ago I sat down and really looked at my number and found my sales were down 58 percent. Was that because everyone was buying online or because of the big beautiful plaza on the hill? In either case, I decided I needed to do something. So, I decided I wanted to be more service oriented.”

As a result, Allain-Thomas decided to seek affiliation with both UPS and FedEx. She began the process in January, she said, “and it took until July 1 to get the UPS up and running.”

Allain-Thomas’ location has been given ASO (authorized shipping outlet) status by UPS.

“I do have to pay weekly fee to have the (UPS) truck come out Monday through Friday,” she explained. “And when people do UPS drop-offs here, I get a small compensation from them. The major source of income for me is when people buy shipping from here.”

Allain-Thomas said, “I recognized that this is a service the community really needed. I think my being here will be helpful to local customers, including businesses, as well as sales people who may be coming through town to visit the hospital, doctors’ offices, and other businesses.”

In addition to UPS drop-off, packing, and shipping, she hopes to someday be able to offer mail box rentals. At present, although unrelated to UPS, her business – now known as Else Where – offers photocopy and fax services. She also plans on renting space in her storefront to freelancers, non-profit organizations, and others who may need meeting and working space, as well as access to copying, faxing, and shipping services she provides. The practice has become known as co-working.

She’s also considering trying to land an affiliation with Western Union in order to add money orders to her growing list of services.

Else Where is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Allain-Thomas can be contacted at (978) 575-0057, by email at info@elsewearonline.com and at facebook.com/Else-Wear.

“While I’m excited about my new affiliation with UPS,” Allain-Thomas conclued, “I’m most excited about being able to offer so much more to the community.”


E-Edition & Local Ads


Weather


athol forecast

Most Popular


Local

Governor’s Council Candidate Peter Stefan pledges salary to charity if elected

Calendar: Oct. 21, 2020

Times Past: Oct. 21, 2020

Social Media




Athol Daily News

14 Hope Street,
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Telephone: (413) 772-0261
FAX (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.