The Extraordinary Ordinary: Laura Christensen (and Company)

From left to right: Landon, Katie, Chelsey, Laura, Gary. Not pictured: Lynn Christensen and Granddaughters Kayla and Emily.

[Originally published September 2, 2015]

Laura Christensen and her husband, Lynn, have been infusing our community with warmth, kindness and generosity since they opened their store, Parcel Dispatch, PDQ,  in 1981, just three years after they moved to Davis. The business is a family affair. Their three adult children—Katie, Landon and Gary—play big parts in the company. And their two “grandgirls,” Kayla and Emily, spend a lot of time at Parcel Dispatch, too. Last, but not least, Laura considers their one employee, Chelsey, an honorary family member. Laura said, “I couldn’t do it without them. It’s really nice to work for yourself. I’m happy that our family gets along. Knowing your children as adults and working together is so precious.”

For Laura, it’s all about treating people well. She said, "It's easy to be nice and just share with other people." For example, when little children come into the store with their parents, Laura and the others are ready with stickers, a Parcel Dispatch, PDQ tradition which began with an employee named Gina. “She was so friendly and outgoing. She bought stickers,” Laura said. “When I give the children stickers and talk with them, they feel like kings and queens. We also have a rubber snake that peeks out of a hole in our counter for the children to play with.”

Parcel Dispatch, PDQ is a favorite stop for many locals, whether or not they are customers. “My husband Lynn gathers people, sees who they are, accepts them, and befriends them,” said Laura. For example, Esteban. Esteban is himself an entrepreneur. He comes by the store every day to present his menu of soda and candy. Another regular, Jerry, picks up all their cans to recycle. No matter how often Lynn tells Jerry his name, Jerry greets him with a “Hi, Pete!” Bruce the artist, a loyal friend of the Christensens, keeps a folder of his artwork at the store and comes in to look through or add to it from time to time. Laura said, “College students don’t know how to address letters or even where the stamp goes. We have to be very patient with them and show them how it’s done.”

The Christensens also have a wall of postcards from customers who tell them about their travels.“We have mailbox renters whom we’ve known for so long. We knew them when their babies were born. We’ve watched their children grow up,” said Laura. 

Laura said, “My husband compares Parcel Dispatch, PDQ to a play. At 9 AM, we pull the curtains and are on stage all day, with the closing curtain at 5:30 PM.” 

Thank you, Laura (and company), for treating all with whom you come into contact with the deepest respect and care. Thank you for seeing a need in this community and meeting it. Thank you for your humility and expertise. You are a shining example to us all. P-D-Q. Pleasant. Delightful. Quintessentially professional. Thank you for being so extraordinary.

NEWS FLASH: Erin Farmer, a friend of mine from high school, saw this post about Laura and her family on Facebook and responded with her own story about the Christensens:

"I love these folks. Landon and Gary battled flames from a car fire in the lot next to the store, which helped keep us safe when I pulled my dog out of my parked car next to burning car last December. Good people, great place."