By John Guerra
Phil & Kris Cousineau got the idea for their successful office center and shipping business while eating pizza at Monty’s Pizzeria on Nursery Road.
“We lived in the neighborhood and noticed the travel agency was closing on Belcher Road,” Kris told ColorfulClearwater.com. “As we were eating lunch, we asked ourselves, what does the neighborhood need? Not what we wanted the neighborhood to have.”
There wasn’t a place to buy a stamp, rent a mailbox or ship items to family and friends in other states, so that’s what they settled on.
“Why don’t we be the place where people can mail things, send packages, rent a mailbox, get greeting cards, a one-stop shop,” Kris Cousineau remembered. “That was 15 years ago; we have since expanded to perform notary public services, to serve as a United Parcel Service shipping center, and a provider of office supplies, faxing services, and other administrative services.”
It’s a complicated story, but the name of the mailroom — Bubble’s Wrap & Send-UPS Shipping Outlet — originated with a monkey in a wedding suit the pair saw in Las Vegas. They nicknamed the monkey Bubbles to represent celebrating, champagne (they were married in Vegas).
The two opened the shop not knowing anything about shipping other folks’ items. So, what has she been surprised to learn since then?
“You have to pack your item well,” she laughs. “You don’t put the word fragile on anything, all it does is draw negative attention to the box. If you pack something well, you don’t need to announce anything to the world on the outside of the box. I ship a lot of dishes and other items made of China and I won’t write “Fragile” on the box. If someone asks me to, I hand them the Sharpie and have them write it on the box themselves.”
Other snippets of hellish advice:
- Be aware of weather. When you ship vinyl records or chocolate, don’t do it in the summer heat. Warehouses, mailing transfer stations and the recipients’ front stoops probably aren’t air conditioned. You ship them when its cooler.
- When you ship to Canada or other foreign country, pay attention to overseas shipping rules. Kris says she knows the rules all over the world and can help avoid problems.
- Have written appraisals of expensive items before shipping. “I had someone who wanted to ship a $2,000 piece of jewelry to Texas. I asked her if she’d photographed it and appraised it. She hadn’t. I told her to do that and come back. That’s what you’ll need if you have to file a claim with a shipping agent. You just don’t ship expensive items.”
- Don’t ship perishable foods and other items on Friday that require dry ice. UPS shipments sit around half a day Saturday and don’t move on Sunday. They sit around for a day and a half on the way to the West Coast.
“The most unique place we’ve shipped was Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and everyone was trying to get items to them,” Kris said.
One of the Cousineau’s loyal customers is Trisha Triscari, who says she relies on Bubble’s Wrap & Send-UPS Shipping Outlet for things she can’t get done at home.
“They are awesome,” Triscari said. “They print stuff for me, fax things for my business, and help me with all the copying I need done. They are a life saver; that’s why I’ve been coming here for five years.”
Bubble’s Wrap & Send-UPS Shipping Outlet
1444 S Belcher Rd, Clearwater, FL 33764