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Dietrich hopes to expand mailbox business through the Summer Company program

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul

The Summer Company is a program through the Government of Ontario to help students run a summer business. It can provide start-up money to kick off a new business as well as provide advice and mentorship from local business leaders to help a business continue to grow.

Caledon has a Summer Company 2021 student in its own backyard in Thomas Dietrich.

Dietrich is the owner of The Mailbox Studio. 

He creates and installs attractive mailbox stands, signposts, gates, and custom-designed wooden features to grace properties in town or on rural routes. The Humberview Secondary School student services customers across southern Ontario from his home-based workshop in Caledon. 

The Summer Company program wasn’t something that was originally on his radar, but once Dietrich looked into it, he knew it could be a smart way to help expand his company. 

“I actually heard about it through one of my neighbours who we had delivered a mailbox to, and they suggested it might be a good idea for us to look into,” said Dietrich. “It’s our second year running the business and from recommendations and suggestions we got last year, we wanted to improve our business and expand it. After looking into it, we decided collectively this is the right way to go to progress it and make it large, expand our customer range, and it also gave us an opportunity to introduce more products.”

The business came together when Thomas and his brother Marcus had their summer plans cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The brothers opted to start their own business to fill their free time and it’s taken off from there.

“We were coming back from a movie theatre, and we decided to take the country roads home and we noticed how many sad looking mailboxes there were,” he shares. “We thought maybe since we weren’t returning to school because of the pandemic, we could do something to get some extra money. At first it started off as just something to do on the side, but then it slowly progressed into becoming an actual business. So, then we introduced more mailbox models and we’ve also done a few number posts, signposts, and we’ve also made barriers and gates for a few customers.” 

Having learned to use the power tools needed to build the mailbox when he and Marcus helped their father reconstruct their own mailbox post, it made sense to Thomas to partner with his brother on the business for numerous reasons.

“He lives with me so it’s much easier to get in contact with him and get his help on project,” he said.

Since the brothers began the company over a year ago, they’ve gotten pretty good at balancing it with school and life. Thomas hopes that more students are willing to dive into the journey of starting their own business because the benefits are enormous. 

“I’m going into Grade 12 so I’m getting ready and preparing and actually doing one of my courses right now…while running the business,” he said. “It can definitely be a challenge, but it’s definitely worth it. I would definitely recommend it to other people who are considering starting a business while still in school. If they’re hesitant about the idea, I would say go for it because you won’t regret it.”

In their second summer running the company, Dietrich has bigger goals, specifically reaching new areas. This was the principle reason why he wanted to get involved with the Summer Company. 

“This summer specifically we’re aiming to expand our markets and see if we can reach more customers further away,” he said. “Right now, we’re mainly serving customers in Caledon and the Dufferin area, and we want to further north and south. That’s been something the Summer Company is really helping us with.

Now that they’re used to some of the issues that can arise as a result of the pandemic, Dietrich says this summer is off to a smooth start and hopes to continue running the company for the foreseeable future if time permits.

“Things have been going pretty well,” he said. “With this being our second season of running it, we’ve gotten pretty used to the COVID protocols, so it’s gone well. I definitely want to keep the company going as best as I can, but for right now it’s too early to say. I’m still looking for what I want to do later in life, but I definitely would like to keep the company going.”

Dietrich also offers installation within a 30-minute drive of his production location. Homeowners in Dufferin, Caledon and area who are looking to upgrade a current mailbox or want to enhance a lawn or garden with a beautiful adornment can select from a variety of styles on the Mailbox Studio website at www.mailboxstudio.ca. 

Thomas is happy to meet with customers to talk about custom orders as well. Call or text him at 519-288-4123.



         

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