Meet Steve deMoulpied, founder of PrestoFresh Grocery Delivery
, a Cleveland Heights-based online grocer with 10 employees and plans to expand to 15 to 20 shortly. PrestoFresh customers can shop online for groceries and household products and schedule a door-to-door delivery of those items. The service area touches three counties: all of Cuyahoga County; Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville in Lorain County; Willoughby, Willowick, Mentor and Eastlake in Lake County.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
My career has been entirely in logistics and operations efficiency/improvement, primarily with huge organizations: I was an officer in the Air Force, I worked at GE, UnitedHealth, my last job was leading the efficiency improvement efforts for two Philips businesses.
My wife and I moved to Cleveland from Chicago in 2013, and I quickly noticed all of the positive change happening in Cleveland but the absence of an affordable, convenient grocery option. After doing some research on the demand for it, and analyzing how it might be made profitable (there have been many failed attempts at this), I decided to launch the business in Cleveland.
Who uses your services and why?
Everyone! When I launched the business, the main target market I had in mind was busy professionals living downtown, given the obvious difficulties with grocery shopping in the city. That segment makes up a solid portion of our customer base, but I have been pleasantly surprised by all the other people who love our service.
We can offer anyone who finds grocery shopping difficult or time consuming a great alternative, and we really aren’t expensive. The key in comparing the cost of shopping with us versus the grocery store is to look at the overall bill after you receive your delivery. Factor in the reduction of impulse/unnecessary buys, fuel cost, time/stress, etc. We have had several customers tell us, “Gee, when I looked at your prices before I shopped, I thought I was going to end up paying a little bit more, but my bill ended up being $20 or $30 or $40 dollars lower than it usually is -- and that’s including the delivery fee!”
Where do the groceries originate?
We announced this week that we have partnered with Zagara’s Marketplace
in Cleveland Heights. Anyone who has visited this store doesn’t need to be told why we're thrilled. It’s probably the nicest grocery store that I have ever set foot in and the people who work there are genuine hard-working Clevelanders.
On top of that, the family owned store has been operating in Cleveland since 1936. They are doing something right to be around that long in such a competitive industry. Through this partnership we can provide our entire service area with Zagara’s top quality products. We offer over 7,000 products to choose from, including a full line of organic/natural products, locally procured produce and Ohio raised meats. At the same time, we can provide Zagara’s an opportunity to expand their reach across the county. It’s a win-win for us, Zagara’s and our customers.
How have you expanded your services recently?
We just thisweek expanded our order deadline from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for next day delivery. We also started offering same-day delivery for orders placed before 7 a.m. We've expanded our meat selection with our new Zagara's partnership.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs starting a businesses?
When a customer looks you in the eye and tells you ‘Hey, that’s a great idea,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be willing to hand over their hard earned money for it. There is a difference between a good idea and a product with a market.
This is a tough lesson. Always keep your eyes and ears open for feedback (either subtle or overt) from customers who point to a marketable product or service. It’s entirely possible that your grand idea at the beginning must evolve substantially over time in order to be a viable business. Be open to that.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
By far the most rewarding experience to date has been hearing firsthand about the impact PrestoFresh has had on customers’ lives. Our customers are all people who find it difficult to get quality fresh food, for varied reasons. Whether it's professionals working 60 to 80 hours per week, the elderly, the disabled, mothers of small children… And the alternatives are not great. Order a pizza for delivery? Fast food? Don’t eat? We have had customers literally tell us “You have changed my life.” I have found this experience to be far more rewarding than I expected.