The Postal Service recently stepped in to help a fast-growing cheesecake startup find a better way to serve its customers.
Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright, two sisters in Oxon Hill, MD, were working for the federal government when the partial shutdown began last December.
Furloughed from their jobs at the Food and Drug Administration and the Justice Department, Howard and Wright turned their love of cheesecakes into a business — The Furlough Cheesecake — to help make ends meet.
Acting on a tip submitted through Customer Connect, a USPS employee leads program, representatives from the organization contacted the sisters to offer assistance.
“They were already using a competitor, but we asked if we could meet. We brought our packaging and helped them fulfill orders that day at their house,” said Tammy Edwards, Capital Metro Area’s marketing manager. Andrea Burrows and Ed Blair, two business development specialists, assisted with packaging using Priority Mail.
USPS kept in touch with Howard and Wright, who began to express concern about their cheesecakes not staying “dinner party ready” during shipment.
The Postal Service then offered a new product, still in its testing phase: Cold chain packaging, which can be inserted into Priority Mail boxes to keep contents at 40 degrees or below for 72 hours.
“They couldn’t believe we had a solution,” said Felicia Jackson, a USPS small-business development manager.
Howard and Wright agreed to be the first customers to pilot the product — and they’ve been pleased with the results.
“USPS provided a personal approach. They are an extension of our family — that is what made the difference,” said Wright.
The sisters have now quit their jobs to focus on a rapidly expanding The Furlough Cheesecake, which will soon be available at Walmart stores.
Said Howard: “The Postal Service is invested in us and wants to see us succeed.”