LOHS grads building business at home
November 17, 2010 - Running low on dinner ingredients, lunch fixings or snack food? Better go get some groceries.
|Ryan Lewandowski, left, and Bill Peterson both crack a smile as they load up a small, last-minute order. Photo by Laura Colvin (click for larger version)|
Better yet, let GoGet go get some groceries and bring them to you.
GoGet Grocery Delivery Service is the entrepreneurial endeavor of Ryan Lewandowski and Bill Peterson, both Lake Orion High School graduates and lifelong members of the community.
The business venture began when Lewandowski started making regular grocery runs to keep the kitchen in his grandmother's senior-living apartment stocked with essentials.
"Pretty soon her friends were asking me to pick up things for them, too," he said. "I started to see there's really a need for this kind of service."
And so it began. Lewandowski, a 2004 LOHS grad, and Peterson, a 2005 grad, first did their homework: They researched the concept, built a website, inventoried an entire Kroger store — 10,000 items plus — crossed the Ts, dotted the Is and got themselves fully insured. GoGet officially opened for business in August.
The service, they explain, is available to residents at senior-living facilities at any reasonable distance, as well as to individual customers living in and around Lake Orion. So far, response has been overwhelmingly positive.
"We haven't had any negative feedback," Peterson said. "Just about everyone we talk to loves the idea. Even if they have the time, people don't necessarily want to spend it in the grocery store."
Having someone else do your shopping also eliminates impulse buying, he added.
"Some people just tell us 'I've got time, I don't have small kids, but I hate grocery shopping,'" Peterson said. "It's one more way to make time to do the things they love."
For Peterson and Lewandowski, one of the things both say they love is home. Lake Orion.
"It's important to me to be part of the community – and part of helping Michigan get out of the recession," said Lewandowski noting he and Peterson became friends about the same time they became teammates on the LOHS cross country team. "I love it here, and this is an opportunity to do something for the community."
Peterson agreed. It's the small-town feel — the tight-knit community and all that comes with it. It's being close to everything a person needs while an escape to the parks, the trails, and the lakes is right out the back door.
Both men are rife with entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm and a do-it-right philosophy. Each knows the other will take the joint venture seriously.
And while Lewandowski and Peterson both say they wanted to continue on the entrepreneurial path, they also want to make sure they're walking in a direction that feels meaningful.
To that end, they have big plans. It will take time to get GoGet established, they understand that, but a future goal is a free grocery shopping service for senior citizens.
Currently, seniors 65 and older pay $8, no matter how long their list, while fees for non-seniors run $12 for total grocery orders under $60, and 20 percent of the total bill for orders over $60.
And customers don't pay for the service, or their groceries, until the delivery is actually made.
"We hand them the receipt that prints out from Kroger," said Peterson, noting customers can pay with a credit card, cash or check. "We'll shop for anything a Kroger store carries."
But, he noted, no alcohol or tobacco will be delivered unless an adult is home to accept the products. It's all part of the commitment, they explain, to build a strong, reputable business.
And, to improve on the current service, GoGet will soon pick up and deliver restaurant orders. They're also preparing to unveil a more sophisticated website, allowing customers to create an account, see and build on past orders, and more.
Seniors, of course, will always have the option of completing a hand-written grocery list.
"Our seniors are important to us," said Lewandowski. "We take good care of all our customers, no two ways about it. But our seniors are special."
For more information, call GoGet Grocery Delivery Service at 248-845-8461 or visit www.gogettoday.com.
Lake Orion Review Editor