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Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel earns fifth consecutive #1 nod by UPS

By Staff | May 27, 2010

The staff at Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel includes, from left, Edisney Guttierrez, Karen Halverson, Steve Saltz and Gene Routh.

From priceless Picasso’s to wildebeest skulls, Gene Routh has seen — and shipped — just about anything one could imagine.

Routh, the owner of Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel, learned last month that — for the fifth year in a row — his business was being lauded as the number one shipping outlet in the country by United Parcel Service.

"I’ve known all along that we shipped more than almost all retail counters in the United States," he said, noting that his business ships approximately 100 packages daily. "UPS started giving out awards back in 2005, when we won our first award as top shipper. And we’ve won it every year since then."

Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel, located at 2402 Palm Ridge Road (with satellite offices at Sundial Resort and at South Seas Island Resort), has been in business since 1994 when Routh was "pushed in this direction" by a close friend.

"I’ve lived on the island since the 1970s," recalled Routh. "I was born at Lee Memorial (Hospital) and raised in Manatee County. I moved here because I enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle. But then I got married and found out I had to work to earn a living."

Gene Routh, pictured with a sculpture on display at Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel, Inc., tries to stay — pardon the pun — "a head" of his competition by providing superior customer service.

With a background in operating clothing stores, along with a brief stint working for the United States Postal Service, Routh opened Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel in part because he enjoyed work in the customer service-oriented industry.

"I like the work because every day is different," he explained. "Every day there’s always different stuff coming in. We get to meet people who come from all over the world, and we ship their packages all over the world."

Routh also stated that during peak periods of the year — typically between New Year’s Day and May 1 — his business has shipped more than 400 packages in a single day.

In addition to providing shipping service, Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel offers customers a wide variety of products and goods, including packing materials, boxes, envelopes, tape, labels and the sort, greeting cards, t-shirts and tote bags, posters and an impressive assortment of patriotic-themed puzzles.

Over the years, Routh and his crew have shipped boxes of all shapes and sizes to destinations near and far. Among the items they have shipped are priceless works of art from Pablo Picasso as well as longtime Captiva icon Robert Rauschenberg.

Some of the plaques, awards, trophies and gifts given to Routh by United Parcel Service as their leading shipping service provider in the United States.

"We send everything from antiques and furniture to statues, canoes and kayaks," said Routh. We’ve shipped them to celebrities like Beverly Sills, congressmen and senators. Willard Scott comes in here, too."

As for their #1 ranking in the country, Routh said that he owes that nod to his loyal base of everyday customers.

"We know that we have to do a good job for them, because 80 percent of our customer base is only here for six months out of the year," he explained. "It’s all about customer service. We’re always looking for new ways to improve our business."

For the first time since UPS began handing out awards to their top shippers across the country, Routh attended their national convention held in Chicago, Ill. in April. There he met with hundreds of other like-minded business-owners, most of whom he had never met in person.

"After they heard my name and where I was from, some of them would ask me if I knew so-and-so, because their customers told them about us," he said. "We compared notes… you can always learn something new about this business. This industry seems to be changing every day."

Gift items offered for sale at Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel include greeting cards, tote bags and t-shirts.

But after five straight years of being UPS’ number one shipping outlet, what could possibly be better than earning the award for a sixth consecutive year?

"My goal right now is to be the top shipper for UPS and the top shipper for FedEx Express," Routh noted. "Nobody has ever done that."

Chances are that if any retailer can do it, Pak-N-Ship of Sanibel can. They’ve got the experience, and the awards, to prove it.

Hand-painted coconuts, created by an island artist, are shipped to places around the globe.