Small-business spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Packaging, shipping business adds eBay consignment service

Small-business spotlight
2013-03-09T16:20:00Z SPOTLIGHT: Packaging, shipping business adds eBay consignment serviceLesly Bailey Times correspondent
March 09, 2013 4:20 pm  • 

US 30 Postal Express is helping customers navigate the world of online auctions with a new eBay consignment service.

Christine Coughlin said the family business is adding another element to its offerings, which range from shipping, notary and packaging services and supplies to PO Box rental and custom box making and crating.

“Customers bring in their items they want to sell on consignment and I do all the research, take photos, write descriptions, respond to inquiries and ship to the winning bidders. Once it sells, I take a fair commission,” Coughlin said.

Since launching the service in July, she has assisted with more than 400 listings. She offers either a neutral place for items to be picked up or a quick avenue to ship to the winning bidders as well as in-home research for elderly clients to weigh if an item is even worth selling.

“I have customers who just don’t have time and a wide range of ages from 30s to the elderly who don’t know how to do it or who don’t have a computer,” she said. “By bringing it here, they don’t have to worry about anything from the time they drop it off to the time they pick up their cash. I do all the hard work.”

Coughlin said the consignment service side is a way to help boost her family business that has faced challenges since opening in 2010.

“We believed that opening a postal store on route 30 between Merrillville and Valparaiso was a great idea due to the high traffic volume that passes daily. Unfortunately, within a year of opening, we were struggling. We decided that something different needed to be done,” she said. “I put a sign on the marquee about the eBay consignment and within a couple of days, I had my first customer and it just grew from there.”

The entrepreneurial spirit has been passed down through the generations with Coughlin’s maternal grandparents, Jean and John Morgavan, owning several businesses including a downtown Gary coffee shop as well as the location’s previous business, Van Jay’s cigarette and fireworks. Her parents, Nancy and William Coughlin Sr., launched the postal endeavor, which is also owned by her siblings, William Jr. and Erin Coughlin.

“My grandparents worked until their fingers were raw. They didn’t take time out for themselves. They were just very driven. From not having anything growing up, they became successful through hard work and that is inspiring to me to pass along to my kids: that you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon to be successful. In any economy, with good work ethic and drive, you can do anything.”

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