CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – When Aldi closed for renovations in September, Pat Ritchie saw a need for reliable grocery options for many people in Clarion County.
(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
“This left the only store in our area open under the Walmart name, and it left no delivery options for local residents, in the event of a pandemic and with residents not all able-bodied,” he said. . exploreClarion.com. “It was unacceptable to me.”
He said he heard complaints about the inaccessibility of delivery services outside the Borough of Clarion and was frustrated by what he called “unreliable and non-transparent policies of other companies” such as DoorDash and InstaCart.
To this end, he founded his own delivery and ride-sharing service, Clarion Carrier.
“Clarion Carrier is what I describe as a courier service for our somewhat rural area,” said Ritchie. “It combines the tastes of many companies in the gig economy that I have worked for over the months and years. It takes all the delivery services provided by these companies and makes them accessible to those in more remote areas, such as Shippenville, Knox, Sligo, etc.
Ritchie explained that there are also older people in Clarion who he says prefer to order food instead of using a website, and that due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic , businesses in the area might not be able to afford the fees to be hosted on a platform like DoorDash.
As a junior, political and law librarian at Clarion University, Ritchie hails from Pocono Lake in the eastern part of the Commonwealth.
He said he would likely stay at Clarion for a while as he also intends to study here. In all likelihood, Clarion Carrier will be Richie’s full-time occupation, but he explained that he will have to work according to his class schedule. The hours at which Clarion Carrier is available are posted on its website.
“If I’m overwhelmed, I’ve already seen a few people express their interest in driving,” he said. “The times are posted on my website as soon as I know what they’re going to be, and they rarely change once posted. “
The website also lists restaurants that Clarion Carrier will deliver from, including local restaurants such as Bob’s Subs, Daddy’s and Toby Hill Bar and Grill, as well as Applebee’s and the subway on Pa-68. To request his services, Ritchie said he was available by phone at 570-794-3663 or through the website order forms.
The website says the delivery charge is $ 2.50 per mile with a minimum of $ 6.00 for local orders or $ 2.00 per mile with a minimum of $ 15.00 for longer deliveries. . This is in addition to the cost of the order.
Ritchie will deliver food within a 20 mile radius of Clarion.
“The price of gas plays a huge role, but I usually charge similar rates to other delivery companies and sometimes cheaper,” Ritchie said of how he charges. “I’m active on all of them, so I can see what the prices are and adjust accordingly. I want to be fair to my clients, but I don’t want to go wrong in the process. DoorDash is known to offer $ 3.00 for a ten mile order, which I think should be illegal when they’ve charged you $ 15 or more to place it.
The menus of the restaurants where Clarion Carrier goes are all listed on the website; although some of them, like Arby’s, are priceless on them. Ritchie explained that he got hold of the menus that were posted publicly, but for some he saved them from memory because they weren’t available outside the restaurant. In other cases, he said, due to price fluctuations, he cannot update the site quickly enough.
For these restaurants, the website says, “Exact order totals will not be available until the order has been placed.” A quote will be provided to you when ordering.
Ritchie clarified, “I can give an estimate, but I can’t provide an exact total until I have physically placed the order inside the restaurant. The prices I have access to are from printed copies of menus or from the stores website. Some places don’t provide this information, so I don’t have it.
When it comes to payment methods, the website lists Pay at Door, PayPal, Venmo, Credit / Debit, and Check as acceptable methods.
Clarion Carrier is also a carpooling service.
Ritchie says he’s ready to drive people within a 100 mile radius for $ 4.00 per person and $ 2.00 per mile with a low of $ 7.00. It can accommodate five passengers and also rents its trunk for $ 15.
“If a student wants to carpool from Pittsburgh to Clarion or vice versa, I see no reason not to offer this service. There are no other companies that I could find online that advertise a tariff from Clarion to Pitt or vice versa. As far as I know I’m the first, ”said Ritchie.
For his vehicle he uses a 2003 Honda Pilot. He stated that he is insured and has AAA.
Additionally, Ritchie has expressed his desire to expand the service.
“I plan to add to this in the future, to offer sales and delivery services from local establishments, laundry services, package deliveries, the possibilities are endless,” he said. declared. “If anyone has any ideas for a service they would like to see but Clarion doesn’t, let me know. Our city lacks a lot of services, and I am open to expansion.
So far, “a small number of people” have requested or used Clarion Carrier.
“I expected the numbers to be small because I kind of wanted it to be a soft launch,” Ritchie said. “I want to resolve any bugs or faults in my service and be able to offer a full range of services with more concrete schedules, before opening the service in the spring for students. I expect the demand to increase sharply once the students return home, so I make sure I’m prepared for it. “
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