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‘Busiest’ time for shippers
Businesses brace for box boom
UPS Ships 4 es
Shippers like UPS and the postal service are bracing for the Christmas rush. - photo by Emily Saunders

• Pak Mail: 5890 Bethelview Road, (770) 888-5968

• UPS Stores: 2300 Bethelview Road, (770) 889-2929; 1735 Buford Highway, (770) 844-8636

• U.S. Postal Service: 525 Tribble Gap Road, (770) 886-2388
Holiday shoppers may be looking for deals, but last-minute shippers are unlikely to find any.

In fact, rush services for some heavy or large items can cost hundreds of dollars, if not more.

“It depends upon the weight, where it’s going and the size of the package,” said Barbara McClure, co-owner of Pak Mail on Bethelview Road.

“It could be anywhere from $7 to thousands ... if it were going overseas and you wanted it there tomorrow.”

McClure, along with several others in the shipping industry, recommends sending gifts by Dec. 21 to ensure packages arrive in time for Christmas.

UPS Store owner Gene Allen said many know the drill.

“Next week will be the busiest week,” he said. “Monday will be the busiest shipping day of the year, without a doubt.”

Allen, who owns stores on Bethelview Road and Buford Highway, said there are options even for stragglers.

“You can ship as late as Dec. 23 for delivery on Dec. 24,” he said. “Of course, shipping early provides more affordable options.”

McClure said UPS and FedEx won’t be making Christmas Day deliveries.

To that end, the U.S. Postal Service is up for the job, said Cumming Postmaster Anne Berger.

“Any express mail that comes in, we will deliver on Christmas Day,” she said.

The post office will be open until 2 p.m. Christmas Eve, which falls on a Thursday this year. But any express mail packages dropped off before the store closes will be delivered the next day.

For those who plan ahead, the post office offers many choices, said Berger, including the flat-rate box.

Whether it’s a heavy lump of coal or a stuffed teddy bear, if a gift fits in the box, it’s the same flat rate price.

The small, medium and large boxes range in price from $4.95 to $13.95 and will arrive at their destination within three days. There are also flat-rate envelopes.

But if the package is not mailed by Dec. 21, Berger “would suggest either priority or express mail.”

Express mail starts at $17.50 for the flat-rate envelope and goes up based on weight and distance.

Because Pak Mail works with UPS, FedEx and other shipping services, McClure said there are several rates and delivery options available.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Berger said her staff still has time to help Santa Claus with his work.

“We’ve received letters from Santa as early as June. Some children really plan ahead. They’re well organized,” she said.

“We respond to as many as we possibly can ... we assist Santa with his mailing needs.”