The customer was determined. “I need this medication shipped to my out-of-town husband quickly,” she intoned. “If he does not have his meds first thing tomorrow, he will die.” Dan DiGregorio made a quick calculation and gave her the price. Without a pause, she asked, “What is the two-day rate?” Despite COVID-19, DiGregorio has learned some things never change.
— Dan, Judi DiGregorio survive, thrive in Kingwood —
“There are so many external factors that you cannot control in a retail environment,” he said, “and the current pandemic is the hardest to plan for. I worry about the safety of my employees and my customers, but I have learned to work only on what I can control.”
Dan and wife, Judi, own and manage PostalAnnex Kingwood, a government-defined essential business, located in what Dan terms “… beautiful Kingwood at Northpark.”
“Our tagline is ‘Your Home Office,’ offering full-service shipping, mailbox services, printing, copies, fax and notary services,” Dan said. “We are unique in that we have a least one notary present when we are open. We usually have two or three notaries working, so there is no need for a special appointment time.”
Dan and Judi offer all the major mailing services – the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, DHL and Lone Star Overnight. Dan and his staff can compare costs and delivery times to find the right delivery fit for his customers’ needs, even the customer who needed to get her husband’s medications delivered to him the next morning.
In the corporate world, Dan played a lot of more golf than he can now. Most days, Dan and his staff can be found designing and printing business cards, banners and flyers and laminating them. Some days, Dan is bent over his special copy machine creating those massive architectural drawings for a customer.
“Judi is a schoolteacher, so we focus on assisting teachers and parents,” he said modestly.
Dan and Judi’s support for Humble ISD would exhaust most folks. They sponsor the Kingwood Park High School Silver Stars dance team, the KPark student newspaper and yearbook, and the Academic Awards for the District’s Top 10 graduates. Dan encouraged his business network group to purchase a cash register for the district’s Mosaic’s Spirit Shop. One year, Dan and Judi sent their team out to volunteer at the Woodland Hills Elementary School carnival.
If you listen closely as Dan speaks, you can sense that he grew up in New York state, where he graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Judi grew up in Boston. Dan spent almost 40 years in corporate technology jobs managing and designing transportation software for large multi-national firms.
“I was recruited in 1996 to move to Houston from Connecticut to lead IT for a fast-growing transportation company,” Dan recalled. “We moved to Kingwood because it was close to the airport for my new job and, frankly, for us and three kids, Kingwood just felt like home.”
His final corporate job had Dan traveling half the year. Bush Intercontinental may be close to Kingwood “… but I wanted to stay closer to home. When we made the decision to launch our own business, we selected PostalAnnex because they offer the most flexibility in shipping options, administrative services and impulse items like greeting cards and gifts,” Dan said.
Designated as an essential business, PostalAnnex Kingwood has remained open and maintained their regular Monday through Saturday store hours.
“Like every other business, COVID-19 has changed the way we do business,” Dan said. “We keep our customers 6 feet apart from us and from each other. We try to stay 6 feet apart as well, but handling big and heavy parcels the way we do, it’s not easy.”
Walking up to the counter, customers peruse the many specialty items along the way – pocket flashlights, tools, car charms, planners, stationary items and greeting cards, lots and lots of distinctive cards for any occasion.
“We try to carry greeting cards our customers won’t see anywhere else,” Dan said. “The Bald Guy Cards are especially popular and, frankly, match my sense of humor.”
COVID-19 has prompted Dan and Judi to introduce some new items, like the removable floor vinyl for businesses to message and mark 6-foot distancing and other information. There is an increase in banner and sign requests, too, as businesses announce their reopenings and “pick-up” and “drop-off” signage.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions, there is still a family atmosphere at PostalAnnex Kingwood. Dan, Judi and the staff know many customers by name, no doubt a key reason they received their corporate office’s Community Service Award in 2015 and were finalists in the Lone Star College Small Business Awards in 2018.
“We’ve survived and thrived in Kingwood for three reasons,” Dan said. “Customer service, customer service and customer service.”
And for Dan, Judi and their staff, customer service will continue to be priority one.
“A customer brought in a 5-foot-long, museum-quality model of a ship,” Dan recalled. “We spent two days packing it. I tracked it every day until it reached its destination safely.”
Wish Dan, Judi and PostalAnnex Kingwood a happy eighth birthday in beautiful Kingwood at Northpark, 2261 Northpark Drive, call them at 281-312-4355, or visit postalannex.com/location/kingwood.