Most kids grow up thinking they want to be a fireman or an astronaut, but Florida natives Mark and Brian Hausfeld had no such grand aspirations. Prior to owning the UPS shop in the Park Sheridan Plaza in Hollywood Mark was a manager at a UPS store in Plantation.

“I knew the business, I grew up in it,” he said.

In contrast, his brother, Brian, with whom he attended Nova High School, became a realtor, consistently breaking records and winning awards for top sales at his Coldwell Banker office in Hollywood.

Both the “boys” bought the franchise from their father, Chuck, 11 years ago. It’s now one of the longest running businesses in the plaza.   Chuck purchased the franchise in 1991.   Mark now works there full time, along with their employee Weaver, who has been there for more than three years. “Customers know and love her,” he said.

And that’s a big deal, because the store sees over 150 customers every day.

“Some people are long time customers, and they are often in and out quickly,” said Brian.   Having an employee there that they know and trust adds to their comfort level, all the men agree.

Chuck said he bought the UPS store franchise because he’d just had enough of selling insurance. “Although you never get away from sales,” he added.

Who are the most interesting customers they’ve seen? “ I don’t really want to tell you,” quipped Chuck. “We have a lot of interesting box holders but we can’t talk about them, that would be a breach of security!”

Over the years, they’ve shipped fish, frogs, false teeth. (“Lots of false teeth,” says Mark. “At least half a dozen times that I can think of.”) They’ve shipped big and expensive things, perishables like mangos. They recalled a big shipment of black coral from Mexico, which they learned was actually illegal to harvest, bring into the country and ship.

“We chose not to take the job rather than risk breakage…or arrest!” he added.

They laughed at the memory of a man in a full ninja outfit, including face gear, shipping mangoes.

“Every day brings something unique,” said Brian.

Chuck also recalled a lady, early on in the ownership of the shop, who shipped a sweater to her daughter.

“We packed and prepared it, and she came back an hour later, completely frantic – she had forgotten that she’d hidden $15,000 in cash in the sweater!” said Chuck. Thankfully for all involved, they were able to retrieve the sweater – and the savings.

The small family business is proud to say that they have serviced generations of happy customers.   They made it through Hurricane Wilma, and since they had a generator, they were even able to help their customers with more than just their usual services.

In addition to the regular UPS packing and shipping, the UPS store rents mailboxes, makes copies, sends and receives faxes, offers notary services and provides a safe location for sending and receiving mail and packages.

“This is especially valuable for people who travel a lot,” said Mark, noting that, in these stressful economic times, mail robbery has become more of a problem, from outgoing mailboxes as well as doorways.   In addition, many people are shipping their luggage to and from vacation spots.

“It’s a great convenience and often less expensive than paying an airline for bringing your luggage on board,” he adds.

The Hausfelds invite you to take advantage of their offer in this issue of the Hollywood Gazette to try out their many services at a special discount for Gazette readers.