Temple Alumni’s business another option to prevent package theft

MailRoom will offer another option for students and residents to protect their packages.

A sign withe MailRoom logo is stuck to the door of a pickup location near 16th and Susquehanna Ave. on Sept. 12, 2019 | JUN WENTZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

While living off-campus during their time as Temple students, Rahul Nimmagadda and Jon Huynh had many packages they ordered online stolen off their stoops before they got home to pick them up. 

“It got to the point where I was ordering stuff to my friend’s property management company, and then I’d pick them up from there,” said Nimmagadda, a 2019 statistical science and data analytics alumnus. “I talked to [Huynh] and to other friends, and it was clearly a problem other people had in their lives.” 

Nimmagadda and Huynh, also 2019 statistical science and data analytics alumnus, started MailRoom, a package-theft prevention business last year, which offers a subscription-based service for $5 a month. Customers have their packages delivered to a secure MailRoom location, receive electronic notification when their orders arrive and pick up their packages at their convenience.

The company established its first pick-up location inside Bret’s Home Warehouse at Susquehanna Avenue and 16th Street in August, but is looking to expand to more locations to make package pick-up convenient for Temple students and North Philadelphia residents, Nimmagadda said.

Rosalyn Simmons, 59, who lives between Broad and Colorado streets, said  she didn’t understand the purpose of the company since there are other nearby facilities to have packages delivered in the neighborhood, like Walgreens. 

Alternatively, Latasha Bradford, 43, who lives between Dounton Street and Germantown Avenue, said they believe MailRoom would still be useful.

“I used to get my stuff delivered to Walgreens,” Bradford said. “That’d be better to have it delivered down here.”

Huynh said that he and Nimmagadda had been working toward running the company for years as undergraduates.

The alumni utilized resources at Temple, like Blackstone Launchpad, a service helping young entrepreneurs launch their business. 

“They really focused on problem-solving, and that’s how this company started,” Nimmagadda said.

Sam Trilling, a senior political science and journalism major who lives between 17th and Diamond streets, said he has had packages stolen from him before and the company offers a useful alternative to getting deliveries sent to an Amazon Locker.

“I tend to not want to support Amazon for ethical reasons, so I think that if their service could compete with and compare to the Amazon Locker service, I would use it,” Trilling said.

Emily Murphy, a senior community development major who lives between 15th and Diamond streets, said she sees potential in the company but feels no need to subscribe to the service.

“I don’t get many things shipped, but I do know a lot of people who live off campus who order things online who would love something like that,” Murphy said. “It seems like a pretty affordable thing to do if you order a lot of stuff.”

Nimmagadda said it is important for students to take advantage of the opportunities they have while in college. 

“It’s a great place to really find your teammates who are interested in the same thing as you,” Huynh added.

Simmons said she and her neighbors have already developed a system where they look out for each other to combat potential delivery theft.

“[My neighbor has] had packages stolen from her before, so when she needs something done, I’m usually at home, or the lady across the street is at home, so we got our buddy system,” she said. “I let her know, she lets me know, and that’s how we do it.”

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