MUNCY - Doing everything from shipping to selling small gifts, The Pony Express Pack and Ship, 21 Kristi Road, in the Penn Hills Plaza truly is a "one-stop shop."
The store primarily was a packing, shipping and gift business when it first opened in February but now has grown to include being a Western Union broker, printing and photo archiving.
"Our goal next year is to do title and tags," said Tamara Downey, owner. "... We've gradually added more things as the year's gone. We originally did just shipping and gifts."
And Downey said the gifts the store offers were made locally.
"Most of our gifts that we have - that we carry - are from local artists," she said.
The idea for the business came from a friend of Downey's who owns a similar store. When her friend invited Downey to shadow her, she liked what she saw and wanted to bring the idea to the area.
"When this store front opened up, we took the opportunity to do it," Downey said.
Downey added that the store's "multi-service," is what attracts most people to it.
"You can come and ship something and while you're waiting you can buy a birthday card or a gift," she said.
Although Downey is the only individual who works at the shop, she said there was plenty of help from her family. Downey's son came up with the name Pony Express, after he heard about the idea for a shipping business. And Downey's mother painted a large horse logo on the store's front counter.
"It was a family effort to get this place together," Downey said.
Then there also is Downey's "volunteer greeter," Trip, a miniature pinscher and pomeranian mix. Downey said some customers are drawn in by Trip.
The store gets a lot of business from truck drivers, Downey said. She said since the store has plenty of parking and offers a faxing service, drivers often stop in to fax their legal forms for when they are traveling across the border to Canada.
But with the holiday season upon the area, Downey is offering a gift wrapping service. The service is free when someone ships a package through the store.
"If someone doesn't have enough time to wrap all of their presents, the can bring them in here and we'll wrap them for them," Downey said.
But Downey hopes that her business will continue to expand into the future. She is encouraged by the idea to "shop small business" around the holidays that some shoppers are pushing.
"We're not a franchise - I am it. I'm from here," Downey said. "I graduated from Hughesville. My kids graduated from Hughesville."
She said it's a "scary leap" to go into business for yourself in today's economy.
"It's challenging. You have to figure out what will get people in here, what will get your business running," Downey said.