Now that Black Friday has come and gone, The UPS Store is ready to get to work.
According to Wendy and Jerry Eggert, owners of the store in Palm Harbor Shopping Center, the first Monday after Thanksgiving begins the busiest season of the year.
On normal Mondays throughout the year, the store ships 150 to 175 boxes. In the few Mondays preceding Christmas, that number jumps to 400 to 600. This year, Dec. 13 is projected to be the busiest day of the year for UPS nationwide. Dec. 15 is the last day to comfortably have packages shipped to the West Coast of the U.S. in time for Dec. 25.
Jerry Eggert said the rush doesn’t bother him. “I don’t care — as long as they come in,” he said. “This is the 11th Christmas the couple has been in business, and they said the rush is routine now.
In fact, the Eggerts rearranged the store in anticipation of the increased volume. Now, the packages ready to be delivered are kept in the front of the store, with the rear of the store being reserved for boxing and taping.
Over the years, the Eggerts have had some interesting requests for packaging.
“People come in with a giant garbage bag and pop it on the scale,” Wendy Eggert said.
One of the most memorable boxing jobs was a mounted deer head. But just like everything else, it was boxed and loaded with packing peanuts. No sweat.
Jerry Eggert said a 3-foot-tall Dora the Explorer doll was “creepy.” He said he’s also boxed up paintings by Monet worth up to $15,000. Someone else sent a frozen birthday cake, and the Eggerts have also shipped live gold fish in a cooler.
One parent shipped a case of bottled water — over night — to a college student in New York, so as not to inconvenience the student by requiring a trip to the grocery store without a car.
+ Local photographer joins national movement
Jay Caruso will join a community of photographers across the world Saturday, Dec. 4, using his photography skills to give back to the local community.
The one-day worldwide photo shoot, called Help-Portrait, was established in 2009 by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. The idea is to find people in need, shoot and print their portraits and deliver them. In its first year, 6,000 photographers (supported by makeup artists, lighting specialists and posers), logged more than 30,000 portraits and many more smiles.
“I saw it as an opportunity to show people that they are beautiful, that they are valued,” Caruso said about the project. “I think people really do want to give back, and photographers tend to be very passionate people.”
In 2009, Caruso set up at Parkview Baptist Church, photographing people who were disadvantaged, homeless, struggling or otherwise down on their luck.
“Seeing struggling families light up in front of the lens was inspiring,” Caruso said. “Just for a moment, they felt really beautiful and thought, ‘I’m someone special.’”
This year, Caruso will be taking a team of volunteers to the Women & Children’s Center at Trinity Rescue Mission, in Jacksonville.
“Already we have 35 women and 40 children signed up for portraits,” Caruso said.
But in order to make this day a success, volunteers are still needed. Caruso is looking for makeup artists, lighting specialists, greeters, videographers and smiling faces.
For more information on Help-Portrait, visit help-portrait.com or carusophotography.com/helpportrait.
+ Sushi restaurant Kokoro nets new owners
Tomo and Siri Inoue, former owners of Kokoro Sushi Bar and Japanese Bistro, have sold their business to S & L Trading Inc., owned and operated by Sherman Lee Barnes and Laura M. Castro-Barnes.
The new owners have a history in gourmet cuisine and the restaurant business. They recently owned a seafood restaurant called La Esquina, in Bogota, Colombia, but sold it upon moving to Palm Coast.
The new owners are sushi lovers and have promised that the menu, recipes, quality of ingredients and suppliers will remain the same.
+ Local business woman to serve county
Michelle Neal, of Watson Realty Corp. has been appointed to the board of directors of Children’s Home Society for the north coastal area. Neal will serve as Flagler County’s advocate in the areas of foster care, child abuse and neglect prevention, family and individual counseling, case management, clinical services, supervised visitation, emergency shelters and residential group homes.
+ 1 on 1 Fitness gives back for Christmas
Ready for boot camp? Try out the afternoon camp by 1 on 1 Fitness. The routine combines strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness training in one workout.
The boot camp is from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and will benefit Christmas Come True, a non-profit volunteer organization to help Flagler County Families.
“We would like to provide as much help to our community this holiday season as we possibly can,” said Sue Urban, general manager of 1 on 1 Fitness.
Cost is $15 each, and all proceeds will support Christmas Come True’s goal of making Christmas magic for all of Flagler County.