Family-owned and -operated small businesses are an important part of the U.S. economy. According to recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly one-third of small employer businesses in the U.S. are family owned. As part of Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program, Amazon works with family-owned logistics and delivery businesses around the world to deliver packages to customers.
Launched in 2018, the Amazon DSP program connects aspiring entrepreneurs with resources and coaching to help them build and scale their own businesses with Amazon. Today, Amazon partners with more than 3,000 DSPs globally that employ thousands of drivers and deliver for Amazon customers every day.
Aimkhan Logistics and Total Package Logistics are two successful family-owned and women-led DSPs who have grown their businesses with Amazon. These DSP owners share their stories of how they got into business with their spouses, running their companies like family, and what their kids think of their parents’ entrepreneurial journeys.
Maha Al-Absi and Aqeel Ahmed, owners of Aimkhan Logistics, Worcester, Massachusetts
Maha Al-Absi and Aqeel Ahmed spent most of their 20-plus-year careers in the corporate world working as certified project managers at large aerospace and insurance companies. Highly accomplished in their fields, they enjoyed their work. But they frequently discussed their own entrepreneurial ideas at the dinner table and how they could go into business together as a team one day.
“I had always talked about starting a logistics business, since 2011 in fact,” said Ahmed. “The world is moving more and more online, and it was always something I thought I could do, but I never took the initiative.”
That’s where Al-Absi stepped in. “It was February 2020, and Aqeel and a friend were talking—again—about logistics businesses. I remember because it was my birthday,” Al-Absi said. “After all this talk and no action, I said ‘Fine, if you’re just going to talk about it, I’m going to do something about it!’”
Al-Absi applied for Amazon’s DSP program and was accepted. “I told Aqeel he had to run the business with me.”
Al-Absi and Ahmed launched their business in August 2020, during the height of the pandemic.
“We set up the home office in our living room right next to our children, who were doing remote learning. We say that they got their MBAs during that time.” Parents to three kids, the two joke that they now have upward of 60 kids, having expanded from five drivers when they started their business with Amazon to more than 65 drivers today.
“Our drivers and employees are like our family. They know our kids; our kids know them. We support them and guide them like we would our own children,” Ahmed said. “We opened our business to help people. Not just to earn money, but to change people’s lives. We mentor our drivers and encourage them to move on to bigger things in their lives.”
At the end of the day, they see their business as a stepping stone for their employees.
“We can provide our employees access, guidance, and support so they can learn how to become managers themselves and move up in their careers,” Al-Absi said.
For some, that means graduating college and paying off student loans. For others, it means becoming financially independent and moving into homes or apartments of their own.
“At the end of the day, this is a family business, and we want our employees to achieve their goals and dreams, just like we desire for our children,” Al-Absi said.
Alison and Greg Gatto, owners of Total Package Logistics, Boca Raton, Florida
Like Al-Absi, Alison Gatto acted on her husband’s curiosity and became an entrepreneur and DSP owner somewhat by accident.
Gatto was living her dream of owning a successful luxury salon in Florida in 2018. She’d opened the salon 10 years earlier and had grown a staff and clientele that she was immensely proud of. A decade into living her dream, a chance conversation with her husband changed her life.
“He had heard about this program with Amazon to open a small delivery business, and I just thought it sounded like something I’d be good at. Even though I didn’t know anything about logistics, I knew a lot about managing people,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much it would positively change the course of my life.”
Gatto applied and was accepted into the DSP program and soon found herself launching a new business endeavor in an industry that she knew little about. Together, she and her husband Greg learned as much as they could about logistics and found that running a delivery business was not too dissimilar from running the many other businesses–including a burger restaurant–they’d owned over the course of their marriage.
“The great thing about working with your spouse or partner is that you know their quirks, their strengths, and if you know how to communicate with each other, you can work well together,” she said. “I leave the manual labor and repairs to him; he leaves the operations to me!”
“Both my husband and I are very entrepreneurial,” she said. “He’s always been self-employed and encouraged me to live out my dream of starting and owning businesses as well.”
Gatto’s three daughters think what their mom is doing is pretty neat.
“My middle daughter is 15 years old, and she’s taken an interest in the business. She’ll come into my office when I’m doing paperwork or planning and want to know more about it. To see that budding interest in entrepreneurship is an incredible thing to witness, and for her to see her parents helping each other succeed in business is an example I’m proud of.”
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