Well-known Maine border business changes hands

by | Sep 19, 2023

Mailboxes International sold after death of co-owner Neil Cowperthwaite

Pam Cowperthwaite says her husband, Neil, may be gone, but his memory and the business he built lives on.

“We’ve had a few calls saying we’ve heard you closed, but we aren’t. The business is still running, just under new owners,” said Cowperthwaite.

Her husband of 45 years died after health complications related to a series of falls that began in February. He was 77 years old.

“We met when his sister invited me for Christmas one year,” said Pam. The two were teachers in New Mexico at the time.

“That was 1976,” she remembered. “I came out the next summer after finishing graduate school. We were married in November of that year, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Pam said the two of them ‘stumbled’ into the international mail service business.

“We were operating Radio Shack at the time, and the post office in Portland was getting rid of a bunch of old mailboxes, and we got them and came back, and that was that.”

Their business never made them rich, but they were able to make a decent living – until the pandemic.

“COVID-19 took 85 to 95 per cent of our business,” she explained. “When ArriveCan started, it was really bad.”

When things picked back up, Neil started having health issues and enlisted the help of friends.

A month before Neil died, he and Pam began to discuss selling the business.

“We had already been in talks with the new owners, Shelbey Saunders and Leonard Wilde.

Pam is helping the new owners while getting the ‘lay of the land.”

“Leonard and Shelbey are just getting to know the customers,” she said. “I tease them because I have a 30-plus head start on them with people’s names!”

Once the new owners get the hang of things, Pam will quietly retire.

“I’ll definitely miss the people when I retire,” she said. “The chit-chats, the sharing, the sometimes teasing. I have one young guy who comes in and always shows me pictures of the fish he’s caught. I got to know a lot of Canadians over the years. I’m going to miss those relationships.”

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

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