When you think of UPS, what comes to mind? \u00a0One image that probably pops into your head is delivery agents in brown uniforms picking up and delivering packages from big brown trucks. But there's another aspect of UPS that you may have seen in a shopping center near you: \u00a0a UPS store (pictured below). Here's something that surprises people. \u00a0Did you know that those are franchise locations, owned by local business owners like you? Independently Owned The stores may carry the UPS brand and have the marketing power of UPS behind them -- but \u00a0the success of the stores rides on the backs of the owner-operators in each location. When you frequent a franchise-owned UPS Store, you're really supporting a local small business in your community. The UPS Store brand was born in 2003, after UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. \u00a0Most of the Mail Boxes Etc. locations were transformed into the UPS Store brand, although the Mail Boxes Etc brand still exists in some places. \u00a0Today there are 4,800 local franchise-owned UPS Stores across the U.S. and Canada. Each of the stores has a business owner or owners, such as a husband and wife, operating it. \u00a0According to the company website, a franchise owner has to invest between $150,000 and $375,000 of their own money to become a franchise owner and start up a UPS Store. \u00a0For many, it's an alternative to corporate employment. \u00a0One store owner, Jim Westcott, says that he had worked for someone else for 26 years, but started a UPS Store to control his own employment. A typical independently-owned UPS Store offers copying and printing services; packaging; shipping; even direct mail services. \u00a0You can also get\u00a0a mail box if you need a real physical address, and get mail forwarding from that box along with package notification. Do Whatever it Takes The UPS Store franchise headquarters just launched a new campaign to make the public aware of the locally-owned nature of the locations -- and that because the stores are locally owned, each store can offer customized services. According to a UPS Store spokesperson, the "do whatever it takes\u201d campaign grew out of research showing that small business owners often feel they don\u2019t get enough support when it comes to all the day-to-day tasks necessary to build and run a business. \u00a0Said Vice President of Marketing and Small Business Solutions, Michelle Van Slyke: \u201cOur research found that while small business owners love what they do, they often feel overwhelmed and under-supported when it comes to getting everything done. They may be experts in their particular field, but that often doesn't necessarily equip them with the knowledge to manage all aspects of running their business. We also found that many small business owners were not aware of the types of resources their local The UPS Store could provide.\u201d The local ownership model offers flexibility that a chain structure cannot offer. Local stores can customize solutions to suit a customer. According to Van Slyke, the current marketing campaign is more than just messaging. \u00a0It follows on the heels of some substantive changes. \u00a0The franchise owners underwent extensive training on how to serve small business customers better, and also how to tailor offerings to suit small business needs. \u00a0The store interiors were also revamped to serve business customers. The UPS Store website offers a store locator with maps, if you don't know of a store close to you. \u00a0Next time you're in one, ask for a business card. \u00a0You'll likely get one with the owner's name on it -- tangible proof that your local UPS Store is really a \u00a0small business.