Who Is AMBC?

To understand who we are, first you should know where we come from.

Our roots go back to 1982 when Jim Baer founded the AMPC, the Associated Mail and Parcel Centers. The organization was the first of its kind–a for-profit trade organization for a new type of business that was just popping up across the country: the mail and parcel center.

A mail and parcel center at its conception was basically a retail store where people could come to ship stuff, buy stamps, make a copy, and rent a mailbox. Yes, we know that kind of sounds like a Post Office, but this was entirely different. These centers rented private mailboxes, not PO Boxes, using their street address to receive mail and packages from any carrier and not just USPS. And the mail and parcel center could compare different carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS all in one location to help their customers find the best shipping or mailing service for their needs and budget. They sold lots of different sizes of boxes and offered professional, expert packing service, so the public could now ship more unusual and fragile things safely. Mail and parcel centers put customer service at the forefront, recognizing that saving their clients time was their key to success. It was a brilliant concept! And AMPC would be there to help all of those new, independent mail and parcel centers band together to train, network, and collectively act together for the betterment of the industry.

In 1994, Charmaine Fennie purchased AMPC from Jim and turned the organization into quite a phenomenon. National AMPC conventions lead by Charmaine were can’t-miss occasions for mail and parcel center owners, and she had the ability to remember everyone, care for everyone, and touch everyone’s heart. After she passed unexpectedly in 2003, AMPC’s leadership shifted around for a few years until it was purchased in 2008 by a group of veteran members with the goal of turning this groundbreaking, industry-leading organization into a true member-run non-profit organization.

On January 1, 2014, AMPC officially transitioned into a non-profit organization and changed its name to AMBC, the Association of Mail and Business Centers, to reflect a shift in the industry from traditional shipping centers to more full-service business centers. Four AMBC members–Sarah Rohde, Jim Kitzmiller, Jeff Ballantyne, and Marty Johnson–became the new volunteer AMBC Board of Directors. In the years since, more board members–AMBC members nominated and elected by their fellow members–have been added, while others have rotated out at the completion of their terms. With a volunteer member board now overseeing our organization, AMBC is able to remain fluid and to easily adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of our industry, market, and members.

We, the new AMBC, are proud to serve as the retail shipping industry as advocate, educator, and mentors. Our members–mostly independent, though we have plenty of members who are part of franchises too–are incredibly diverse, operating businesses not only in the traditional retail shipping industry, but also many doing impressive things in printing, office services, and other unique areas like coffee shops, stationery centers, truck rental, college town student hubs, and tourist hot spots. Found in every corner of the country, our members are always willing to lend a helping hand, success secret, advice, or cautionary tale when necessary.

So, who is AMBC? You are AMBC and we are AMBC: a caring, powerful group of #MembersHelpingMembers who realize the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. We keep growing and changing to make sure that our long list of member benefits brings as much value as possible for our members–our family.

We’re here for each other, and we’re here for you.