Katie Smith and Richard Coombs are teh couple behind Agassiz Delivered, a new delivery company that has taken off during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Agassiz Delivered/Facebook)

Katie Smith and Richard Coombs are teh couple behind Agassiz Delivered, a new delivery company that has taken off during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Agassiz Delivered/Facebook)

Local couple keeps Agassiz delivered

What started out as takeout delivery has turned into a pandemic business boom

In the summer of 2019, Richard Coombs and Katie Smith noticed there were very few delivery options for hungry residents in Agassiz.

They set out to solve it, and almost by accident created a business that would help local companies and residents get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re not rich people, so if we can help by … driving their products around, that’s what we can do,” Coombs said.

Agassiz Delivered began in Kilby when Coombs, a taxi driver and film production assistant, noticed that takeout delivery was few and far between.

SkipTheDishes and DoorDash, two companies offering third-party delivery from restaurants, don’t operate in Agassiz. Some individual restaurants in Agassiz and Harrison offer delivery — mainly pizza places — but largely the area is a pick-up only zone.

SEE ALSO: What’s the Deeleeo? Pandemic spurs resurgence in crowdsourced delivery apps

“It was just kind of an idea in my head, and I thought it would be nice if the restaurants didn’t have to hire someone,” Coombs said.

The pair started small, doing takeout delivery on their off time. It was “more for fun than anything,” Coombs said.

“We both love driving so it just kind of goes without saying,” Smith agreed.

Then, COVID-19 came to Canada. Communities hunkered down during the first wave.

“When COVID really kicked in, … we didn’t want to lose out on our bills and our business,” Coombs said. His taxi was sitting unused, and the delivery business was small, focusing mainly on takeout orders.

“We thought of how we could make it help for the community,” he continued. “We knew for a fact, a lot of people in Agassiz don’t go into Chilliwack often … so we wanted to be able to help them.”

Making that happen, however, was “really nerve-wracking.”

“I didn’t know if we would be allowed or considered a usable service,” Coombs said about the business. “I made sure to talk to Fraser Health and make sure to get the limitations on what I could and couldn’t do with food.”

Once they got the go-ahead, the community responded.

People who were quarantined, or had at-risk family members at home called on Smith and Coombs to bring them groceries, medication, parcels from the post office and even auto parts. They’ve delivered from Chilliwack to Mount Woodside, and Harrison to Sts’ailes.

SEE ALSO: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

One concern the pair had before starting Agassiz Delivered was being stuck with “a big storage room full of groceries waiting to be delivered,” Coombs said.

The deliveries work with either Coombs or Smith purchasing the groceries or takeout at the till, then sending a receipt to their customers. The customer then etransfers the cost of the purchase, plus the fee for delivery.

So far, no one has tried to leave them on the hook for a pile of groceries.

“I guess being in a small town is good for that, because you usually know these people personally or you’ll see them around again,” Smith said.

And that’s been true even though many of the customers Agassiz Delivered deals with have never even meet Coombs and Smith in person.

“We have customers we picked up during COVID that we’ve never actually seen face to face,” Smith said. “Because we can do etransfer and drop stuff off at their door and let them know it’s there, then we walk away. And we’ve never seen them face to face.”

“COVID has been interesting in that sense,” Coombs agreed. “A lot of people seem to know us, but we don’t really know them.”

Currently, Agassiz Delivered does about 15 deliveries a week.

The couple fits the business in around their other jobs — Smith working at the SuperValu and restaurants around town can fit grocery and meal deliveries around her shifts. So far, they’ve been able to make it work with patient customers and busy schedules.

“It’s funny how one business can really pick up and one can really draw back,” Coombs said. “Before the taxi was our main income, and now it really shut down, to the point where I don’t even have the car anymore.”

COVID-19 has created a huge boost in business for Agassiz Delivered, and Coombs expects that some of that business will continue even after the pandemic is over.

But what will happen next for the young delivery company is still up in the air.

“If we had the time to focus on it a lot more, we could make it work a lot more,” Coombs said.

“It’s taking that next step to really make it our full-time income. It’s a really scary thing. It’s not something we’ve ever done, and we’re just taking it one day at a time.”


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
news@ahobserver.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

Kelli Paddon in her virtual speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday, March 2. (B.C. Legislature)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA thanks Agassiz’s Miel Bernstein in legislature speech

Bernstein is the founder of Project AIM, which gives people in need access to period products

(Black Press file photo)
Harrison Mills boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

A real estate sold sign hangs in front of a Canadian property Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy.
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board breaks sales records 6 months in a row

‘Levels never seen before in the 100-year history of the FVREB’

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)
Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read