In 2008, amid a global financial crisis, Lucy Georgakopoulos Tibbetts was ready for a new challenge.
“One day, as I was rushing through Miami Airport, 'Entrepreneur' magazine caught my eye," she says. "I had never read a single issue before that day, but I stopped and bought it. As I flipped through it, I came to a section on one of the last pages listing the fastest growing franchises in the U.S.A.; Mail Boxes Etc. jumped off the page."
Given that no similar service existed here, Tibbetts immediately saw the opportunity and in 2010, a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise opened in Camana Bay.
"Picking up that magazine was a pivotal moment in my life," she says. "It reminded me to always follow my intuition; you never know the wonderful places it will lead.”
It wasn't the first time that following her intuition led her to a wonderful place.
Born in Montreal, Canada to a Greek father and Italian mother, she had moved to Grand Cayman to take up a telecommunications career after studying and working in the mechanical engineering industry. “This was an experience I look back on with so much gratitude," she says. "Not only did it teach me and challenge me, but it allowed me to travel extensively throughout the Caribbean region and I fell in love with it and its people.”
Earlier this year, Tibbetts celebrated the 11th anniversary of the opening of Mail Boxes Etc.
“Reaching year 11 gives us immense satisfaction," she says. "We know that to make it to the next 10-year milestone, we can’t be complacent. Our team is constantly researching, innovating and adapting our systems based on what we observe in the market and based on feedback from customers.”
There have been challenges over the years, Tibbetts says, particularly in navigating regulatory changes and maintaining effective communication with Customs, U.S. authorities, airlines and other agencies.
“The trick to dealing with any challenge is to know your business so well that you can react quickly to changes happening around you," she says. "During the initial COVID lockdown period, our team met daily to keep up with ever-changing rules. As a result of our adaptability, we experienced zero downtime in our shipping services from Miami."
For Tibbetts, putting together a capable and hard-working team has been the most rewarding part of owning a business.
“We have made it our mission to fill customer service positions with bright young Caymanians over the years," she says. "For many, it was their first job and for some it was a source of income while they went to school in the evening. With the variety of services we offer, things can get pretty hectic and the learning curve is steep. Watching them problem-solve and ultimately excel in their role is truly gratifying.”
This article first appeared in the September 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.?