We’ve all been there. You’re hungry, and you want something good to eat, but there’s no time. So you hit the vending machine for sugar or salt.
A recent Washington State University grad wants to change that. She’s started a Northwest business around a simple, better choice: an urban apple delivery service.
Apple-A-Day got its start in the Mecca of apple-country – Yakima, Washington. It’s a simple plan: load the freshest apples possible into a mini fridge in people’s workplaces every Monday. Charge the employer for the healthy service, but make the apples free to employees.
Danielle LaRiviere is one of the owners. She makes many of the Monday deliveries herself in her apple-stuffed white Jeep. At each stop she inspects, loads and counts out the apples before going in to wipe down and fill the tiny fridges. With 24 fresh apples in place for workers, she’s off to the next place.
“I guess you could say I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little kid,” says LaRiviere.
She recalls that once when she was about five years old, “We had all these different cereals and I’d put them in these little baggies — like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’d put them in this Ziploc bag and I’d go around and ring people’s doorbells and ask if they want to buy these bags of cereal.”
Apple-A-Day started when LaRiviere was looking for a job during her summer break. Her father, an insurance agent, had long-held a dream of starting an apple delivery business for office workers. LaRiviere asked her father if she could take the idea and run – he provided the start-up money.
After working hard to build the business, she managed to keep it going while finishing up school in Pullman.
She says that now, when she makes deliveries,“Sometimes when I come in people will literally start cheering and say, ‘It’s the apple girl!’ And they get so excited.”
When LaRiviere graduated from WSU last year, she expanded into Bellevue, partnering with her sorority sister Lexi Schmidt. This day, LaRiviere and Schmidt meet in a business parking lot. They divide the day’s apples for delivery.
Schmidt says she really doesn’t want to give up her delivery days to employees. “But, I think we’re going to have to do that, once we keep on growing.”
Apple-A-Day has landed high-end car dealerships, hospitals and even power companies.
John Brondello employs about 10 people in his Bellevue office. He says he didn’t think much about providing a benefit like this to his employees until he met the Apple-A-Day team at a networking event.
“The thing I like best about it is I don’t have to think about it,” Brondello says. “They show up every Monday and I get fresh apples, and the employees love having it available.”
The Apple-A-Day service costs about $99 per month for 24 apples a week. They have about 70 accounts now in the Bellevue area. Once they grow to 100, the team says they plan to take on Seattle.
On the Web:
Apple-A-Day - official site