OLYMPIA, Wash.—While most business owners who make deliveries fear rising gas prices, Hoyle Hodges thinks it could help his business.
“This is going to be more viable,” said Hodges, “There is a need; this is a niche.”
Hodges spoke aboard his 59-foot sailboat, Pleiades, about his business, The Olympia Schooner Company.
He and a crew of volunteers delivers produce from the Olympia Farmer’s Market to waterfront communities across the Puget Sound. Hodges thinks there’s money to be made bringing fresh produce to places that don’t have markets.
“On some routes, on some days, we can do it quicker than a truck can,” said Hodges.
He came up with the idea in his business and sustainability class at Evergreen State College.
Hodges thinks if he gets 100 regular customers he can break even on boat expenses. Currently he has about a dozen loyal customers.
“This is going to be a long, steady process,” said Hodges, who does not expect to strike it rich delivering produce.
But he is going to have a fun time trying and he thinks he can make money.
Hodges said if gas prices continue to rise, he thinks more customers will be thrilled to get their food delivered to them.
“I know for me personally, somewhere around $5 a gallon is when I can’t afford to drive anymore,” said Hodges, “And that’s when people will see the value better.”