PA Couple Started Niche Shipping Business as Empty Nesters

Date: July 31, 2017

Couldn’t be happier they took the leap

NFIB members Peter and Rebecca Michaelson decided to start their own business in their late 50’s. Peter had spent three decades in corporate marketing. Rebecca ran a non-profit.  They realized they wanted to spend more time together and looked forward to making a career change. The couple hired a consultant, researched franchises, and finally settled on Navis Pack and Ship, which specializes in shipping fragile, large, awkward, and valuable items. Their business is located 2 miles from the Philadelphia airport.

The Michaelsons say nine years later they love their life in Philadelphia. Navis Pack and Ship caters to the niche market of those who need to ship items too large or oddly shaped for parcel service or a load too small to fill a moving van.  The company picks up items in their 20’ box truck or 10’ panel van within about 100-miles of their warehouse, packs and palletizes or crates them for maximum protection in transit, and ships them just about anywhere in the world via motor carrier, air freight or in ocean containers.  Customers include artists shipping fragile artwork, families wanting to hand down heirlooms to relatives far away, and industries selling large, heavy or awkward equipment.

There have been some fascinating shipments along the way.  This week, an architectural design firm near Philly is sending scale models of structural designs to the train station area in Los Angeles. The couple has shipped a sculpture with delicate paper elements to a wealthy west coast patron, packed a 100-inch painting off to Europe, a 12’ stained-glass window from a church in Harrisburg to a collector in China, even an adult-size surrey for four riders. They have packed & shipped thousands of pieces of biopharma equipment, including laser machines, spectrometers, analytical scales, and freezers.

Rebecca says they love what they do and they are happy to be creating jobs for others in Delaware County.  The couple employs between 4 to 6 people throughout the year. Peter handles the business end of the company and Rebecca the operational end. Their children, both Wharton grads like their father, don’t work for the family business, but in the New York financial industry. Rebecca says opening their own business, even late in life, was the best decision the couple ever made, other than getting married 45 years ago.

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