- Alexandra Seltzer Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Candles. Ornaments. Bath bombs. Greeting cards.
And … a post office?
This isn’t your grandmother’s Hallmark store.
In a time when online shopping and shipping are on the rise, Michele’s Hallmark , which has been in Village Square at Golf plaza on Woolbright Road for more than 30 years, continues to flourish under owner Michele Maresca’s leadership.
Maresca bought the store in 2015 and in 2016 it became the first Hallmark in Boynton Beach to become an official Contract Postal Provider for the U.S. Postal Service.
Now, the store is celebrating its success in time for the holiday season by being granted a second weigh station, which means more packages to be dealt with faster.
But the Hallmark-postal service partnership isn’t rare. It’s part of the plan.
“Hallmarks are trying to become multi-focused stores,” Michele Maresca said.
The postal service is bringing products and services to customers where they live and work through contract postal units, which is what Michele’s uses. There are 17 of these units in Palm Beach County, said Debra J. Fetterly, a strategic communications specialist with the postal service.
Boynton Beach resident Rita Hertz has been shopping at the Hallmark since it opened but goes more frequently now because of the post office.
“It’s a blessing in disguise,” she said.
Hertz, 80, said the Hallmark has shorter lines than a typical post office.
“There are much more gift items than before,” she said after mailing a package to her daughter in New York. “And it’s a friendly atmosphere.”
The store employs 12 workers, some of which have been there more than 15 years, said Maresca.
It’s also a family business.
Maresca’s daughter Danielle, who is in 10th grade at American Heritage, works there. Her son Michael also will work there when he returns home from his sophomore year at the University of Central Florida. And Maresca’s husband Paul handles the marketing.
Paul Maresca said since the postal service opened in the store, overall business has increased about 25 percent.
“It’s been a great addition,” Michele Maresca said. She said she’s seen customers buy a gift in the store, have it gift-wrapped at the front counter and then go to the back of the store to ship it.
“The convenience of shipping has been great for our store,” she said.
On a typical day, the store sees about 60 to 70 customers; Maresca said she’ll see four times that during the holiday season.
For that, the couple is grateful they’ll have the second weigh station, and will extend hours of operation starting Sunday.