John Shipley

(L-R) John with his team Miriam Adam, James Atkinson-Thompson and Larissa DaffAuthor, academic and former head teacher John Shipley wanted to start a new venture to keep him occupied when he retired from teaching.

He had enjoyed an extremely varied career that took him on educational exchanges to the USA and appearances on the NBC and ABC television channels, as well as working with Russian schools during the Perestroika and Glasnost era and writing books.

John also has a wide range of advanced academic qualifications gained over many years of study and had been a chief examiner for technology. He was head teacher of a demanding and challenging north London comprehensive school for 12 years until he retired in 2000.

“I’d had a very busy working life so I knew I would have to find plenty to do when I stopped being a teacher and running a school with 1,500 pupils. I wanted a new challenge and felt that retirement could be my opportunity to try something entirely different that was nothing to do with education,” John explained.

“I wasn’t sure what I would do so I started considering several options before I discovered franchising. I was used to handling a large school budget but with no previous business experience I was not confident about starting a venture on my own whereas I was beginning to appreciate the benefits and advantages of franchising, with training and support, so I decided to investigate it more closely.”

John made a serious and thorough study of the franchise sector and then started to consider individual franchises which might suit him, drawing up a shortlist of businesses to contact and then finally deciding that Mail Boxes Etc. was the one for him.

He knew that MBE offered a wide range of services so there would plenty of variety in the work of a store. He had little knowledge of the operation except from using an MBE store in the USA when he was in Connecticut and enjoyed excellent service.

He was impressed by everything he discovered about MBE’s network in the UK and by all the MBE people he met. He was also delighted to learn that he could open a store in Chelmsford not far from his home, so no commuting would be involved.

Apart from being a convenient personal location for John, Chelmsford is the county town of Essex. It is a busy tourist destination and business hub so there is a steady demand for the services that John offers in his store including mailboxes, print, packing, and auction shipping.

“After a lifetime in education, running a business services franchise is different but equally rewarding,” he comments. “Now I’m hoping that one day I can achieve my other post-retirement ambitions to own a narrow boat and go back to the Himalayas.”


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