By Kathy Day
Before Gary Briant started RSF Mail Delivery Solutions Inc., he drove around Rancho Santa Fe for eight years as a courier for FedEx, often seeing the long lines at the post office.
He said he began to wonder whether all those people queued up in the lobby or looking for parking spots would like to have their mail delivered to their front door. More than 10 years ago, the wondering turned to investigating the possibilities – talking to some of the regulars along the route he had run for eight years and “picking the brains of successful business people in Rancho Santa Fe.”
He said they told him to “listen to your customers and customize the business to their needs.”
Today, some of those people are still regulars; it’s just that now they get their U.S. Mail personally carried to them by Briant’s staff.
In October 2002 he incorporated and in 2003 he delivered his first mail in Rancho Santa Fe. With his clients’ permission and their box keys, he — and now his staff of four drivers — pick up mail either twice a week or every weekday and make their way around the Ranch in PT Cruisers. He also offers a two-week free trial “and most people keep going,” he said.
The fee varies, starting at $45 for service on Tuesdays and Fridays, and so do the services. They also pick up and hold mail while people are on vacation or forward mail to those who live in the community just part of the year.
“Customers say it pays for itself,” he added. “Do the math.”
They deliver anything the U.S. Post Office receives – “a little of everything … that’s legal,” Briant said. Occasionally the package has a life of its own, such as the ones delivered to a client who gets baby chicks shipped to the house. “We can hear them chirping in the box.”
Sometimes they do a bit more than deliver mail. One day, Briant said, an employee saw a horse loose in Ramblas de las Flores. Noticing that a nearby stable gate was open, she herded the wayward horse back in with her PT Cruiser and informed the relieved homeowner.
A Temecula resident who was raised as an Army “brat,” he spent much of his childhood in his mother’s native France and part of it on the East Coast before the family settled in California. Briant, 41, is an early riser. He leaves home by 6 a.m. and arrives at his company’s Encinitas office before the traffic gets crazy to get his crew going. Today, he said, he doesn’t do much of the driving, instead spending most of his time running the business.
It could only work in Rancho Santa Fe, he noted, since all of the other communities around have regular postal system carriers. About 300 residents, businesses and institutions in the Covenant, Cielo, the Bridges and Del Mar Country Club choose to use RSF Mail Solutions services, he said.
“We work alongside the post office,” he added, noting that he gets a lot of support from RSF Postmaster Yolonda DuBose.
And, he said, he couldn’t do it without his loyal customers.
Contact Gary Briant at Mail Delivery Solutions Inc., 2146 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 635-0155 or e-mail email@example.com.