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About UPS

  • 1907 1907-1913 Creating a Messenger Service
  • 1913 1913-1918 Retail Beginnings
  • 1918 1918-1930 Entering the Common Carrier Era
  • 1930 1930-1975 Expansion and Transformation
  • 1975 1975-1990 International Growth and UPS Airlines
  • 1990 1990-1999 Consistent Innovation
  • 1999 1999-2010 Global Commerce and Evolution
  • 2010 - 2014 2010-2014 The New Logistics

1913-1918: Retail Beginnings

A merger with Evert McCabe's competing package delivery business helped the company redefine its primary charge. With enhancements to telephones reducing dependency on messenger companies, in 1913 the American Messenger Company shifted its focus to delivering packages from grocery and drug stores to customers' homes. The company's name changed to Merchants Parcel Delivery, highlighting its new mission.

After adding Evert's motorcycles and a Ford Model T to its transportation reserve, the company began to consolidate its deliveries so that all packages for a specific neighborhood would be loaded onto the same vehicle, maximizing use of resources while keeping expenses low.

The business grew quickly, thanks to the company's dedication to its customers. Jim Casey and his colleagues became experts in fulfilling the needs of the drug and grocery stores. In most cases, the company's employees worked onsite at the stores to ease distribution efforts.

The final founding member of the company, Charlie Soderstrom, joined the firm in 1916. With his expert knowledge of automobiles, he helped manage the company's rapidly expanding fleet of delivery vehicles.

The young company's visionary leaders saw a new opportunity to promote their business, and ultimately persuaded retailers to outsource delivery services to their company. The executives had to create an element of trust and credibility for the retail stores to agree, and those businesses had to overcome faith in their own systems in order to cede to a third party. In 1918, three of Seattle's leading department stores became customers, abandoning their own internal delivery efforts, and turning over business to Merchants Parcel Delivery.