While unloading disposable surgical masks and hand sanitizers for Middletown area small businesses and nonprofits recently, we asked Chanele Hellwege why she started her shipping, packing and vehicle registration business on Hwy 175 in Middletown, she responded, “See a need, fill a need.” And that is how Middletown Mail and More got started.
While working at Lovie’s Garden Supply, next door to her location, Chanele gained experience in customer service and business management. She also noticed a need in the community for a shipping business. Although a garden supply store, community members knew Lovie’s as a business that would try to help community members, even if it was just leaving packages for the delivery drivers.
Chanele, with the encouragement of Margaret, the owner of Lovie’s, worked out a lease agreement for the space next door to Lovie’s. After growing up in Lake County, Chanele used her knowledge of the community to begin her entrepreneurial journey in providing needed services to southern Lake County.
Middletown Mail and More has remained open during the pandemic. As a mother, Chanele has had to balance home and running a business. She has had to be flexible in scheduling and has provided a makeshift day care/learning center in the side room of the shop for her children, when needed. Her teenagers occasionally help with errands and small tasks around the business. Her husband also frequently helps with improvements around the store and is a licensed VIN Verifier. Everyone in the family plays a part at Middletown Mail and More.
When asked why she offered her business to be a pick-up location for disposable surgical masks and hand sanitizers for Lake County small businesses and nonprofits allocated free by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Chanele said, “See a need, fill a need. If this is what we have to do together to keep our communities and businesses safe and open, I’m happy to help.”
“We’re all adapting daily and doing the best we can, so when we can, we should fill a need if we see a need.”
Thanks, Chanele, for your example of perseverance, grit, entrepreneurship, and community support.