Looking to build on its growth in the age of the smartphone, a local bike-only delivery service has moved to a more central location in Richmond.
Quickness RVA this month traded its home in Jackson Ward for a 500-square-foot space at 9 S. 10th St. downtown. It had been in its 800-square-foot space at 215 W. Clay St. for more than a year.
Frank Bucalo formed Quickness RVA in 2010 as a one-man operation doing deliveries for Strange Matter near VCU. Today, the business employs 30 couriers serving about 30 clients, according to general manager Andreas France.
The new downtown space will be used as a central hub where Quickness RVA can store its bikes, parts and delivery bags, and house a dispatcher.
“Quickness has been around for almost seven years now and we’ve experienced a lot of growth” France said. “It just made sense for us to move to the heart of the financial district. We’ll be more centrally located, especially for Southside.”
The company’s delivery zone spans east to west from Rocketts Landing to the West End and north to south from Northside to Forest Hill. Quickness RVA usually has 14 people a day working the company’s core business of doing food delivery for restaurants around town. It does about 48,000 deliveries a year. The company has also branched out to delivering flowers, documents, grocery items and custom orders.
“We have a reputation for being really fast,” France said, adding most food deliveries take an average of 30 minutes.
Aside from Quickness RVA, the other bike couriers most commonly seen around town are the sandwich wielding peddlers deployed by Jimmy John’s Carytown and VCU locations. Courier One, a downtown delivery company, also deploys bike couriers, France said. He said Quickness RVA’s success is an echo of the late 90s when there were dozens of bike messenger ventures in town.
“Now, there’s only a handful,” he said. “We’re kind of reintroducing it.”
While bike couriers may not be as common as they once were, there has been a rise in four-wheeled delivery services in Richmond. Zoomer Inc., a food delivery service based out of Pennsylvania, also serves restaurants in the area.
France said out of town car-powered delivery services don’t necessarily mean a smoother ride into the market. Bikes don’t get stuck in traffic and finding parking is never an issue.
“They still take time to do their deliveries,” France said, adding the competition is extra incentive to buckle down. “It just encourages us to do what we do best: deliver food fast.”
France compared Quickness RVA to the mail carriers of yesteryear, and said the company hopes to continue growing.
“We ride in winter, summer, and we ride in the rain,” he said. “Our main goal is to continue tying the small businesses together that we work with.”