By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Two years ago, Jason and Bridgette Santo took a bold step and opened what is affectionately known as UPS #7250, the UPS “Everything” Store that is located on Highway 72 in Athens right across from Chick-fil-A. In many ways, it couldn’t have been a tougher time to become a fledgling franchise owner in a major corporation during an uncertain economy. COVID hit, and on two occasions their ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Chamber was cancelled. Several other things “came at ‘em,” but these guys are seasoned career military retired from the US Army, and they have seen some stuff.
Throughout the two years since they have been opened, they have been committed to this community, especially to veterans, and Jason especially wants to be a support to those who are transitioning to civilian life. In fact, #7250 is hiring full-time, and I can say from experience that his crew is a joy to work with.
Let me tell you about them:
Caitlin is an artist as well as a computer artist. She loves to do what are known as “concept pieces,” which is art where the idea or concept is more important or engaging than the art itself. She designs business cards, flyers, invitations, banners, scenery, any type of graphic piece that a customer might need. She shines as far as being professional and friendly, and her favorite thing about the job is when the customer says, “That’s perfect! That’s better than what I imagined, and it is exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t even know it.” If it can be done, Caitlin can get it done.
Holly served in the military, and particularly loves organizing. She is originally from NE Ohio, and after she got out of the Army, she moved to Decatur and started a family. Holly moved to Athens and loves it. Her interests, in addition to her son being active in football, are a life-long fascination with marine biology. Besides keeping #7250 in ship shape, she finds it especially satisfying when she can pack an item to be shipped that might be challenging in shape or especially fragile. To be able to assure her customers that their piece will arrive safely because of the care she has given to prepare the package for shipping is one of the things she loves to do.
Brett is Bridgette and Jason’s son, and he just graduated from James Clemens High School in Madison, and will be attending Alabama A & M in the fall. His undergrad degree is going to be mechanical engineering, and then he is going to med school. He then plans on becoming a cardio-thoracic surgeon. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but I really enjoy helping people. That’s why I am going to become a doctor. I enjoy seeing people happy when they go out the door.”
Xavier Griffin, Emoni Troup and Jayla Crutcher
I regret that these #7250 team members were not working the day we did this interview, but Jason wanted to make sure that they were mentioned because of the important parts they play as team members.
I think that one of the reasons why UPS #7250 has not only survived but has thrived is because Jason and Bridgette know from their years in the Army just how important it is to build a strong team. They are both committed to helping young people gain skills and come into their own, no matter what they choose for a long-term career. The commitment they had to their soldiers while in the military, to their family, and to their employees is something that translates into a much-needed strength in our communities, and I am glad that they chose us.
In looking back over the last two years and talking about all that has happened, Jason said something that struck me, and that was, “I am glad that what I thought was going to happen, happened.” #7250 loves Athens, and it shows. Soon they are going to be sending out a piece by way of direct mail that essentially says, “Thank you for allowing us to serve you for the last two years.” His gratitude is full, rich, and deep, as is Bridgette’s.
“We want to express our gratitude to the City of Athens for all their support,” said Jason, and he refers to #7250 as being “his dream.” The Santos researched several franchises before they decided on UPS, and one of the major reasons they chose “the Everything Store” is because of the way they give back to the community, and encourage the shop owners to do the same. Stop by and let them show you why UPS #7250 has earned the reputation of being an outstanding place to work as well as being…Everything.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner