LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk
Late-night convenience store delivery service begins operations in student neighborhoods
There are times that you just don't have the energy to go get an energy drink at three o'clock in the morning. I assume you all have been there.
Well, now you can avoid those awkward trips into a convenience store while dressed in your Hulk Hogan pajama bottoms and My Little Pony sleeping caps. (I'm assuming again.) A former KU student turned entrepreneur has started a new business — dubbed Birdfeeder — that will deliver to your home almost any convenience store product.
"I have been to a lot of the Greek houses and passed out about 500 surveys," Birdfeeder owner Steven Fowler said. "Everybody said they could use a service like this. I think it also will be a good deal for the city too. It helps keep some people off the road that probably shouldn't be on it."
Birdfeeder is geared to students and the late-night crowd. For the moment, its delivery area is between Massachusetts and Iowa and Ninth and 19th streets. Hours are 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Customers place an order by calling, texting or tweeting. His info is available on the BirdfeederLLC Facebook page.
Fowler has a menu of products that he offers for sale, ranging from medicine to candy. He buys everything wholesale and sells it retail, and hopes to make money on tips as well.
As for the types of products expected to be popular, he cited sodas, energy drinks and other products that kids these days use to make cocktails.
"I don't know how many times we've gone to the liquor store and forgotten to buy something to mix it with," Fowler said.
Alcohol, however, won't be one of the products he delivers. That's illegal in the state.
Snacks, over-the-counter medicines and ice cream also are expected to be big sellers. But when I asked him what he thought would be the biggest seller, near the top of the list was certain bathroom products and a particular family planning product. I can honestly say I don't know what you tip for those.
Fowler said he decided to start the business after he got tired of paying for student loans, and realized that the only reason he was in college was because he wanted to learn how to start a business. He said delivery services are starting to take off in Denver and Chicago, and a friend of his is having good luck with one in the Westport area of Kansas City.
Fowler said he has plans at some point to expand the business to deliver food from restaurants that currently don't have a delivery service.
Sounds like a plan, as long as he doesn't get his orders mixed up.
Elsewhere around town...
• I'm working to get more information about an expansion of jobs in town. The Results Company, a customer call center that is located on the ground floor of the former Riverfront Mall in downtown, has a significant workforce expansion planned. A company official confirmed some new hiring is going on, but directed me to other officials. According to folks at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, about 175 new call center positions will be created at the company. As we previously reported, the Florida-based company set up shop in the former Affinitas call center space last fall.
• Speaking of calls, you may want to call ahead before you go downtown over the next several weeks. Otherwise you may find yourself surrounded by a hoard of runners. City commissioners are being asked to approve two upcoming races that will have significant impacts on downtown traffic.
Perhaps you remember The Color Run from last year, when several thousand runners descended on downtown for the fun of having volunteers throw colored corn starch on them while they ran through the streets of Lawrence. That event is set to come back to the city Sept. 14. That will cause several streets on that Saturday morning to be closed from about 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Here's a map of the route.
Last year, city officials also weren't too thrilled with how the clean-up process was handled by the run's volunteers. This year, staff members are recommending the company place a $20,000 deposit with the city that only will be refunded once the area is cleaned to the city's satisfaction. This year, the event also happens on the same day that Bike MS event, which attracts several thousand bicyclists, will be happening downtown. That will be one busy day in downtown Lawrence.
A second proposed race adds a new twist for downtown. The Glow Run is set for Oct. 12 and is expected to draw up to 3,000 racers who will run through downtown and East Lawrence wearing glow sticks and "lighted clothing." Here's a map for that event. As you might have guessed, the event will take place in the evening, which is new for downtown races. That means that on this particular Saturday night, the portion of Massachusetts Street that runs through South Park would be closed from 2 p.m. to about 11:30 p.m. Commissioners have allowed that stretch of Massachusetts Street to be closed before for various events, but I'm not sure they've ever allowed it to be closed on a Saturday night. Commissioners will consider both events at their 6:35 p.m. Tuesday evening meeting.