While the new venture at Sunflower Diversified Services will create job opportunities for clients at the non-profit agency, it also will generate a positive rippling effect throughout the community, said Debbie McCormick, director of marketing.
Sunflower serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
Later this year, a new UPS Store will open at 5523 10th, the same location as Sunflower Recycling Center. It will offer packing and shipping; printing and mailbox services; and sell stamps at its United States Postal Service drop-off site.
“This will be a full-service UPS Store that offers traditional services such as packing and shipping,” said McCormick, store manager. “If we pack it, we guarantee it will arrive at its destination in the same condition it leaves here.
“This is such a great convenience,” McCormick added. “You don’t have to find the right box and the packing materials. We will take care of it all.”
Printing services include business cards, flyers, brochures and restaurant menus. Graphic design, window decals, and vehicle and sports banners also will be available.
“The mailbox service provides a unique opportunity to secure a physical address, which is important because some companies will not ship to a P.O. Box,” McCormick said. “You have your own key to your own mailbox at 5523 10th. If an item is too large for the mailbox, we will store it for you.
“This service is especially attractive because you won’t have to worry about packages sitting on your doorstep all day,” she continued. “You can have them shipped here for later pickup.”
In addition, since proprietors of home-based businesses sometimes don’t want to share their home address, the mailbox service is an option.
Several Sunflower clients will have new job opportunities at the UPS Store, with the support of their job coaches. Everyone involved receives specialized training.
“This is the reason we do what we do – provide job opportunities and other avenues to independence,” McCormick commented. “Those who support the Sunflower UPS Store can have a sense of personal satisfaction that their patronage creates jobs for the people we serve. This leads to increased self-confidence and the rewards of being a productive member of society.
“The fringe benefit is becoming business partners with the community and raising revenue for Sunflower services.”
Any extra revenues go directly back to clients in the form of wages, services, programs and adaptive equipment.
“We are a non-profit agency, which means we need to find innovative ways to support the individuals we serve,” McCormick said. “Current tax revenues don’t come close to financing all our programs; we must rely on business ventures and private donations to fill some of the gaps.”
The UPS Store will employ a couple of people who are not Sunflower clients, including an assistant manager.
The new store will not replace the UPS 9th Street location in Great Bend.
“We are here to enhance UPS services,” McCormick commented. “We have talked with local UPS employees and they are glad we are doing this.”
UPS Store hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Sunday hours will be available during the Christmas season.
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 53rd year.