Dean and Susan opened Valley Mailbox in 1993. Their business was originally located on Valley Street which is where the name Valley Mailbox originated from.
They opened Valley Mailbox after moving to Duvall from California. They realized that the closest full service shipping and copying center was located in Woodinville. So, 30 days later, they opened Valley Mailbox. They remained at the Valley Street location for eight years. In 2002, they moved to their current location, 15321 Main St. NE, Ste. 102, where they also manage Riverview Self Storage.
Even though Dean and Susan have retired, they want their loyal customers to know that Valley Mailbox will continue to operate as usual. However, there have been a few changes. Valley Mailbox is now called Valley Mail and Locks and is owned and operated by co-owners, Aaron Keating and Nick Daum. Susan plans to continue to work on Tuesdays and during the holidays. Her daughter Shawn will still work 4-5 days a week.
I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dean and Susan. When I asked them what the most memorable item they shipped over the past 18 years, they both agreed. The most memorable item, a life-size stuffed black bear, they shipped back East over 15 years ago.
Dean said that the best thing about Valley Mailbox is when a customer would come in with a shipping problem and they resolve it for them. Then they would pack up their item and give them the best rate possible.
What they will miss the most during retirement are all of the kids that came into their business over the years. Some of whom they met as infants and are now heading off to college. With great emotion, Susan mentioned that she will also miss working every day with their daughter Shawn, who started working at Valley Mailbox ten years ago.
Dean and Susan are looking forward to having weekends off and being able to go on vacation together. Dean is especially looking forward to the extra time he will have to fish and golf!
The impact that Dean and Susan have had on the Duvall community over the years has been tremendous. One of the things that Susan is most proud of is the Duvall Business Directory which she started with Dave Lockridge in 1998.
Dean and Susan will be greatly missed. Even though Susan will remain working one day a week, it won’t be quite the same without her sidekick, Dean. I asked them which one of them was the boss over the years. Susan said Dean was the president of the corporation but neither came forward to claim the boss title. Each had their own specialty; Dean handled computer and packing and building crates. Susan ran the computers and did graphic design. Together, they made a great team.
Dean and Susan also want their customers and candy lovers to know… the candy dish WILL remain and so will the quality of the candy selection. (Donations will still be gladly accepted).
Special note: I would personally like to thank Dean and Susan for all of the free and heavily discounted copying I received over the years. Their support of the "Benny Jars" and Random Acts of Kindness Week was endless! I would also like to thank Shawn for responding to my son’s letters to his "Transformer" friends. What an amazing gift Valley Mailbox has been to our family and our community!
Dean and Susan and Daisy, you will be missed!