You don’t have to be a huge organization or have extremely large quantities to get great postage discounts on your mail.

You only have to have 200 pieces to mail at the discounted standard class rates and only 500 pieces to mail at the discounted first class rates. Best of all, you can avoid the hassle of the post office and sorting by using our permits and services. Whatever your mailing needs are, we can help.

Spring Cleaning

The most effective mailings are done with the best lists.
ARS Can perform a full list scrub including combining, de-dupe, NCOA, and CASS Certification.

The following is a sampling of some of the types of targeted mailing lists American Resource Systems can provide for non-profits.

1.) From the standard consumer file, we can pull all the regular demographic selects such as age, income and presence of children.

2.) From the survey donor list we can pull consumers who have donated to different types of causes such as humanitarian, political, religious, health, etc.

3.) We can pull from a true donor file. So for instance, we can rent the donor list of national non-profit organizations and get actual donors from these organizations.

Polybagging your mail can be a great way to showcase your printed piece before it is opened. Add a slip-sheet and it is ready to go. Also, poly bags and shrink wrap make adding promotional items to your mailing simple and convenient.

Fulfillment  at American Resource Systems starts with our 12,000 square foot on site warehouse. Our inventory is updated nightly, and we can store, pick, pack, and pull just about any item that fits. We also provide safe secure storage for valuables, and we can take orders by phone, fax, or online. Inventory can also be checked via personalized websites that are built on site.

Veterans of old Sears Crosstown — the ladies — reunited at Bartlett company

“Beat the Clock” wasn’t just a popular game show to workers at the old Sears Crosstown building. It was their life. Every 20 minutes, pants, shirts, shoes and other items were disgorged from every corner of the mountainous edifice and flew down a 10-story chute to packers who wrapped and taped them as fast as their hands could fly.

 It's just like family at American Resource Systems, say the  mailroom ladies. The women, including Mary Sue Brewer (center),  also  celebrate birthdays and enjoy lunches together  while they get their  work done.It’s just like family at American Resource Systems, say the mailroom ladies. The women, including Mary Sue Brewer (center), also celebrate birthdays and enjoy lunches together while they get their work done.

Sears Crosstown, at 495 N. Watkins at Cleveland,  housed the  regional office of Sears Roebuck and Co., as well as the catalog  merchandise distribution center and a retail store.Photo by The Commercial Appeal files
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Sears Crosstown, at 495 N. Watkins at Cleveland, housed the regional office of Sears Roebuck and Co., as well as the catalog merchandise distribution center and a retail store.

Four women who worked there collectively from as early as the 1950s to the building’s closing in the early ’90s said sometimes the packages would stick. Then the company sent a guy named Clyde down the chute to free them.

Sue Atkinson, 82, Sybil Troxel, 80, Mary Sue Brewer, 79, and Bettye Baugh, 68, were co-workers then and they are now at a Bartlett direct mailing company that calls them, along with co-worker McNeva Bistolfi, 79, some of the best mailroom workers in town.

“They’re fast and accurate and they don’t fool around,” said Martha Briggs, owner of American Resource Systems, where they work part time.

“They can’t make a mistake,” said Briggs, in jobs such as assembling binders of drug instructions for people taking many drugs. They may assemble literature in which each of several

pieces is personalized to one recipient, or stuff envelopes for foreign companies with everything written in Chinese or Japanese.

When things are slow and she doesn’t call them in, “They call me,” said Briggs.

They work with the same dedication they showed at Sears Crosstown, the massive 11-story Art Deco building at Watkins and Cleveland that once employed more than 1,000 people. The building, which opened in 1927 and eventually grew to 1.4 million square feet, housed the regional office of Sears Roebuck and Co., as well as the catalog merchandise distribution center and a retail store.

“It was rush, rush, rush, but I liked it,” said Troxel, who worked there from 1964 to 1990 and started at $1.42 an hour, which she considered good money then. As a packer and eventually a shipping supervisor, she could tie the “Sears knot,” a Gordian thing that bound multiple packages. It did not slip.

Atkinson and Baugh, “picked tickets,” (pulled merchandise from shelves), on the eighth and ninth floors, and Brewer, who worked there from 1951 to 1991, recorded orders in an office.

Order tickets flowed through pneumatic tubes to workers like Atkinson and Baugh, who had 20 minutes to locate the items on endless rows of shelves and cart them to a conveyor belt. When the buzzer sounded, the whole building lurched into action. Belts rolled taking the smaller goods, such as clothes and accessories, to the towering chute where they slid down to multiple stations called “crow’s nests.” Workers there dropped them into smaller chutes to the packers, who pulled a heavy lever that dumped them onto a table.

A good packer could wrap, bag and label, and sometimes tie, 16 or 17 packages in 10 minutes.

“There was merchandise everywhere, but you had to get it cleaned up because in 20 minutes they all came again,” said Troxel. There was no air conditioning on most floors, and salt tablets were dispensed next to the water fountains to help keep people on their feet.

Baugh handled children’s Easter dresses and women’s underwear. That was better than denim overalls and jeans, which were heavy and stank because of the dye, she said. If you made a few mistakes, you had a chat with your boss, said Baugh, who remembers pulling a size 14 Easter dress when she should have pulled 141/2 . By the time her boss was finished with her, “my chin was quivering,” she said.

Troxel said managers were fair but strict because of the relentless pace. Once, when a worker who was clowning around fell into a box, the others boxed her up as if nothing had happened until a supervisor passed.

One time Clyde flew out of the chute with no packages. He said he fell in, but they wonder.

They got 30 minutes for lunch at the company cafeteria — not 31 minutes — but the food was good, especially the bread pudding.

From their high perch they could see women sunbathing on rooftops below, said Baugh who worked there in the ’80s. One day she saw a body fly by. It was a painter. She isn’t sure if he fell or committed suicide. She couldn’t ask about it because she wasn’t supposed to be looking out the window.

“You were supposed to be working,” she said.

The Sears guarantee was famous and a “dissatisfied,” customer could always send it back. They still remember returns, such as shirts that had been worn to death and a pressure cooker with a ham wedged in it.

The Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog is read by scholars now as a document of the American lifestyle dating back to 1894. Sears sold everything from tools and appliances to live baby chicks. Many of their orders were from folks in the country, said the ladies. Baugh remembers her mother counting the chicks that were dead on arrival to get a refund.

But after World War II, Sears’ competition increased and its rural strongholds shrank. It ended the general catalog in 1993, the same year the Crosstown Sears distribution center closed. A Memphis reporter once called the shuttered structure “an imposing and melancholy monument to another America.”

In 1994, Troxel found part-time work at American Resources, which mails literature, brochures, product samples and other goods for many nonprofit agencies and commercial companies. When the company needed a reliable crew of mailers for the busy fall season and larger projects, she knew where to find them. She called her old friends from Sears.

Bistolfi, the mailroom lady who did not work at Sears (she had been a full-time housewife), said she worried she might not work out when she came to American Resources. “I didn’t know how to do anything,” she said. “But the ladies took me in like I was a lost sister.” Troxel just told her, “Sit down and shake a leg.”

The Sears veterans are older now. They get to sit down. There are no buzzers. But, in general, they do what they’ve always done: Work as a team, do it right and do it on time.

“We don’t let Martha down,” said Bistolfi.

With the addition of graphic design to our capabilities, we are now able to offer complete turnkey service. We can provide the design, print the piece, provide the list, and sort and mail. This streamlines the process, and because of our quick turnaround and competitive rates we save you time and money!

Our Staff

It is reassuring to know that the same well trained group of individuals is working on your mailing every time. Not only do they have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right, but they care about you and your success. At American Resource Systems we do not use temporary employees, and our regular staff knows our customers and the importance of their work. This extra attention to detail and great customer service is what we work  to maintain everyday.