O.K., this may be a long post, but please hang in there with me.
The mission statement that I wrote for our delivery business several years ago is this: To make awesome, local food more convenient. Every decision we make with any delivery ramification is viewed through the lens of this mission statement. Does it make the process of getting awesome local food more convenient for you, our customer?
Two years ago I noticed that people were having a harder time meeting us at the mobile market locations. Let's face it, people are getting busier by the day. I would talk day after day to folks that wanted our awesome local food, they were happy to pay for it, they just couldn't find time in their schedule to meet our mobile market trailer.
After a deep study on this issue, I felt like we needed to make the process more convenient. What worked well from a box truck in 2006, and from a modified trailer in 2013, was just not meeting the needs of many folks. We looked at several options, but in the end, we stayed true to our mission statement. Any change had to make the process more convenient. We decided that the ultimate level of convenience was home delivery. Admittedly, we probably underestimated how hard it would be to make this work. However, we are pretty used to attacking big problems with hard work. We made significant investments in software, equipment, and personnel. Its been a rather large learning curve, but I'm happy to say that our home delivery project has been a success. For the last few months around half of our order volume has been delivered directly to our customers front door. It doesn't get much more convenient than that. The ultimate success in this system is that you get to feed your family awesome local food while conserving your most precious resource...Time.
You may be saying "That's a great story Chad, but it's hardly a big announcement."
You'd be right. The big announcement is below, keep reading.
In 2013 our delivery locations became "mobile markets" with the addition of a 32-foot aluminum trailer that I converted to house our meat, milk, and eggs. That's when we started taking products from other farmers along on our deliveries. We pulled together a fine collection of fruits, veggies, grits, honey, olive oil, pecans, cheese, and the list grew from there. This supported our mission by making awesome local food from a variety of farmers more convenient. This Mobile market concept has worked well and continues to work well. Those of you that are regulars at the mobile market are the tried and true. You have scheduled your day around our deliveries for years, and we appreciate your ongoing support. Don't worry we will still be there, just a little different format. Announcement coming next.
I mentioned earlier, home delivery is hard. We pretty much have the process figured out, but the challenge is being efficient. Many times during the week the home delivery truck will travel the same area that the mobile market trailer was just in a day before.
Announcement: We are parking the mobile market trailer! We will be delivering to the mobile market locations at the same time as normal, but with the home delivery vans. There, I said it. Trust me, this has been a tough decision.
Let me explain briefly how this process will work. You can still order for the mobile market location. We will start referring to these as "Pop up - Pick ups". A home delivery van will set up at these locations (farmers market style). You can come by during the hour or so to pick up your order.
O.K, I can already predict the next question. "Will they have extra items at the pop up pick up?" We will send a limited amount of only our best selling items. Think: Milk, Eggs, Cheese, Butter, Ground Beef, limited veggies. We are trying to be as efficient as possible. The best way you can help us do that is to place an order. With that said, I know some folks don't like to order online, and sometimes we all forget to do stuff. For that reason we will be sending some extra as its available, but an order is greatly appreciated.
We have added two additional vans, and two additional drivers to make this process work. A Home delivery van will work a pop up pick up, then make home delivery in that area.
I have thought about this from every angle possible, I hope. I do believe it will work. We have a very robust website that makes the ordering process easy and secure. A vast diversity of products live there. It was just no longer feasible to haul around a huge trailer when 1/2 the orders that once rode on that trailer are now home delivered.
Lest you think I am upset about this change, I am not. I have driven those deliveries for 13 years. I am fully ready to hand the keys to the very competent drivers that we have hired.
I will be a better manager of the business, a better farmer, a better husband, and a better father because of this change.
I will miss seeing each of you on a weekly basis. I have seen many of you go through the hills and valleys of life. I have seen your kids grow up, marry, and bring their kids. However, lets not get to emotional. With three drivers, I'm sure i will be called upon to fill in when they need to be out or away. I will likely pop up myself at a pop up pick up from time to time. I will be coming to each of them this week to be sure they know the proper area and set-up procedure.
From the bottom of my heart, and from all of us here at Carlton Farms, thank you for allowing us to be your farmer.
P.S. Some home delivery days changed, while some remained the same. Log-in and check your account to see what day you will be getting home delivery.