By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Retired U.S. Army veterans Jason and Bridgette Santo could not have picked a tougher time to open a branch of a national franchise. But through grit, in June of 2020, the Athens UPS Store opened and by grace, has been unstoppable ever since. UPS #7250 has helped me ship a gift to a dear friend who lives in New Zealand, has printed business cards, produced replicas of Athens Now articles for clients, and when I go there, I am greeted and treated like a welcome relative. The UPS store is known as #7250, and has come through everything from the crunch of start-up to the uncertainties of COVID.
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.
The Santos are deeply committed to veterans, and understand that sometimes the transition to civilian life can be tough. Both have had experience serving in the Middle East, and while they are officially retired, looking out for service members of any age or stage will always be part of what makes them tick. They are also involved in benefitting the community, and this year have decided to target their giving to Junior Achievement as well as the Athens-Limestone Public Library. Their giving cycle this year is basically from November through Valentine’s Day, not just the holidays.
Jason grew up in a family where hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit were a part of life. His mom invested in real estate and flipped houses, and his dad was a hard, hard worker. When Jason discovered the century-old, now global organization known as Junior Achievement, what impressed him greatly was the fact that they start teaching entrepreneurship in kindergarten and go all the way through the 12th grade. This year #7250 will bless Junior Achievement with $1700, and teaching kids how to think like business people and live a life of integrity is something that is extremely important to Jason. He told me with conviction, “Entrepreneurship is the most useful way of preserving freedom.”
In tandem with giving kids of all ages a chance to learn business and life skills, Jason and Bridgette understand the value of education, especially when it comes to literacy and reading. They have been involved in the Scholastic Books drive to get books into public libraries, and have provided $7500 worth of books for kids that can now be checked out from the Athens-Limestone Public Library. The books are well-written as well as illustrated, and will be a blessing for years to come.
The Santos have also decided to build their dream home here in Athens, and will be breaking ground soon in one of the many subdivisions that are causing Athens to be the fastest growing county in the beautiful state of Alabama. They also want to continue to invest in other businesses, their church, their children, and the youth who find their home to be a safe and warm place to gather and grow. In short, they have become Athenians, through and through, and not just Athenians, but grateful Athenians.
“We want to express our gratitude to the city of Athens for all their support, and we are so glad to be a part of this community,” 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 UPS gives back to the community and encourages the shop owners to do the same.
Jason also had this to say about his wonderful staff — “Opening this business has taught me that without good, competent, and caring people by your side you will not achieve much. That’s why I especially want to thank the staff at UPS #7250 for all their hard work and dedication. I’m sure that people in the community who’ve had experience with them will agree.”
Jason closed our time by saying that he’s excited about what’s to come. 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…unstoppable.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner