Land O' Lakes residents longing for the good old days when storekeepers knew their names and convenience and service were a given have a new place to turn to drop off their packages for shipping.
The Lutz Mail Depot opened its doors Feb. 16, bringing a slice of “Mayberry” living with it.
Wondering just what that means?
Pull up to the 18801 N. Dale Mabry Highway business and the meaning will become evident. A mint 1967 Plymouth Fury decked out to look like a Mayberry Sheriff’s Office cruiser sits in the driveway. Step inside to find lots of memorabilia from “The Andy Griffith Show.” There’s even a photo of Sheriff Andy on the wall.
“It all happened by accident,” explained Paul Laroche, who runs the new store.
First off, the business sits on Dale Mabry Highway. Despite that, it’s in a location that has a certain rustic-country charm. Add to that the fact Lutz is known for its historic roots and its replica depot serves as a constant reminder of the town’s proud past and it all clicked, Laroche said.
The parent business took on the name Mabry, RFD. (The RFD stands for Rural Free Delivery.) The business itself adopted the name Lutz Mail Depot to pay homage to the train depot off U.S. Highway 41. And, the “Mayberry” connection just made sense, said Laroche.
“It was meant to be,” he added.
The Mayberry theme is one Laroche said served as a guide during the store’s creation. From the sheriff’s cruiser outside to the window flower boxes in the front, the idea was to create a welcoming, homey feel.
Laroche said he asked the question: “Would Aunt Bee stop here,” before opening the store.
“People want to go back in time,” he said, adding that he thinks the décor delivers that impression.
While customers who frequent the Lutz Mail Depot can count on seeing old-time charms, the business itself is fully modern. Inside, customers can have all their packing, mailing and shipping needs attended to.
Since convenience is a concern for the shop’s owners, the store is open seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are even Sunday hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In the near future, the store plans to have U-Haul trucks for rent, too.
Now, back to that ’67 Fury.
“It’s the real deal,” Laroche said. But, don’t bother trying to stop to see if it can be snatched up for personal use. “It’s not for sale.”
For more information about the Lutz Mail Depot, visit Mabry, RFD’s Facebook page.