Parcels & Post on Magazine Street is celebrating its 10th anniversary and Carnival in a big way. It will host a float installation to be unveiled in February.
Parcels & Post is also helping us celebrate Carnival by offering 20% off the regular shipping price for king cakes. They ship them all over the world.
Owner Heidi Hammond and her husband moved to New Orleans in 2007. “We moved here specifically to be part of the rebuilding effort and to help provide a tax base to the city,” she said. “We wanted to be in a place where we could make a difference.”
Hammond, who worked in transportation and packaging, always wanted her own business. With the help of a business broker, she found Parcels & Post, which was the perfect fit.
Originally located on the corner of Magazine and Nashville streets, it had to move in 2014 when the entire corner was redeveloped. The search for new space ended at 5208 Magazine, five blocks farther downtown, in a building with an interesting mural.
The local artist Frenchy, once a resident in the building, had painted a mural entitled “Starry, Starry Night” on the uptown wall of the building.
Parcels & Post transformed the interior, which had been a spa, into a Caribbean beach-themed space and hung flags to counteract the echo created by the high ceiling.
Considered an essential business, Parcels & Post did not close at all during the pandemic. In addition to its shipping, wrapping and other services, they have 270 mailboxes that people rent.
From March through mid-May, however, it was open only four hours per day. They then added an hour a week until normal business hours resumed in July 2020.
Parcels & Post also has been offering handmade masks. It sourced them from a local artist as well as from NOLA Beaux Ties. It had been carrying bow ties and dog bandanas from the latter, which then pivoted to making masks.
“I bet we have sold upwards of 1,500 masks,” Hammond said. “And people are still coming in asking for them.”
And then in the fall, business started picking up with people mailing things to loved ones they couldn’t visit in person. And Parcels & Post had the best holiday season it has ever experienced.
Another positive development has been corporate business. As conferences and meetings were canceled, organizations like Tabasco, Port of New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail shipped their goodie bags, merchandise and other items to attendees who could not come to New Orleans in person due to the pandemic.
Parcels & Post makes it easy for them by picking up, and no one has to stand in a long line at the post office.
They also specialize in shipping artwork and antiques and have relationships with the galleries on Julia Street and in the French Quarter. “We offer a full-service experience for these galleries, and they have come to rely on us,” Hammond said.
But these days, the gallery business is down dramatically. Also, before the pandemic tourists and visitors comprised 35% to 40% of Parcels & Post’s business. But amazingly, locals are filling in the gap.
“I have to say, our customers have been phenomenal! They are the ones who have supported us. I love them,” Hammond said.
The customers, as well as anyone who walks or rides by the Magazine Street location, will be in for a visual treat this Carnival season when the decorations by the float artists are installed. While the theme remains a secret until it is unveiled, the public will get a chance to see this work of art in February.
Parcels & Post
5208 Magazine St.