SCHENECTADY -- Fred Jimison was tired of having to choose from the same food options when he went to work as store manager trainer for Family Dollar back in 2014.
It was either bring your own lunch in, or have Chinese food or pizza delivered, because he was stuck in the store as the only manager on duty and couldn’t leave.
“I thought one day that I wish someone would deliver something like McDonald's, Burger King or Panera Bread,” Jimison said.
Then he started thinking about having a delivery service going to a restaurant and picking up something he ordered.
It was these thoughts that made him develop the idea for his business, Rushmestuff. It’s an operation that not only delivers food from restaurants, but it also delivers groceries, prescription medication and even takes a customer’s laundry to the laundromat.
The business was originally named Hungerush. It was developed during a time Jimison said that online food-ordering services like GrubHub existed, but before it was offering delivery.
When that changed, and when his customers began asking him to pick up stuff other than just food, Jimison decided to alter his business model.
It led to Jimison changing the name to Rushmestuff in 2017.
“Now, everything you need, you can use Rushmestuff,” Jimison said, before repeating the motto of his company. “And it’s from store to door.”
When he came up with the idea for the delivery service, Jimison said he handed out surveys to customers at Family Dollar to gauge interest. It turned out it was a service many people said they wanted, Jimison said.
Then he started walking door to door in the city handing out the survey and got the same results.
After brainstorming for a couple of more years, Jimison decided to put his business plan into action. He cashed in his 401k and stock investments from when he worked at Family Dollar, and used money in his savings to cover living expenses while he started up the business, Jimison said.
Jimison said he learned a lot about running a business from working as a manager in various retail stores for approximately 20 years. He also said he attended business classes offered by the Community Loan Fund through The College of Saint Rose, and at the Small Enterprise Economic Development program through the University at Albany.
Walking until phones rang
When Jimison started the company, it was just him, an insulated bag to keep food warm and his 2013 Buick Verano.
The first year, though, was mainly spent spreading the name of his new business. He said he would walk to different businesses handing out fliers with his company’s name on them.
“I was walking every day until the phones started to ring,” Jimison said.
The business has expanded since then. Jimison said he has three other people working with him, which he said are considered self-employed contract workers.
The way the service works, Jimison said, is a customer will call a business and place an order. The customer will then let the business know that a representative from Rushmestuff will be picking up the order.
Jimison said a Rushmestuff representative, or a “rusher,” will then get all of the details. This includes the customer’s full name, what they ordered and how much. Then a rusher will show up to the business with either a Rushmestuff shirt or badge and pick it up.
When it comes to picking up medication at a pharmacy, Jimison said a rusher will not only have to know the customer’s name, but also their date of birth. A rusher will also have to show the pharmacy their state identification.
“We are very detailed so they know they’re giving the product to the correct individual with Rushmestuff,” Jimison said.
After nearly three years, Jimison said he has been able to establish relationships with the different businesses he works with. Those include Pho Queen, The Memphis King, Tropics Restaurant & Bar, and Lorenzo’s Cafe.
Matt Restifo, owner of Lorenzo’s Cafe, said Rushmestuff is his preferred delivery service. That’s because the customers contact the restaurant directly, as opposed to some others where the business contacts them with the order. It sometimes leads to orders being messed up.
“I’ve never had a problem with him,” Restifo said. “And he’s a hard worker.”
Naphalak “Gaan” Fuino, owner of Pho Queen, said she also enjoys working with Jimison and Rushmestuff.
“He’s honest,” Fuino said of Jimison. “We can trust him every time we have a delivery order.”
Jimison said his company has been able to generate approximately $250,000 annually in the city for local businesses. He said it helps continue to cycle money throughout the city, with local residents buying from local businesses.
Rushmestuff has been able to help other businesses in the city, but it’s also able to help people who can’t always make it out of the house, Jimison said. This includes seniors and people with disabilities.
“You’d be amazed at how many people just can’t make it out of the house and really do value the service when I am able to deliver them prescriptions and groceries,” Jimison said.
Jimison hopes to grow the company in the next two to three years. That includes hopefully purchasing a fleet of vehicles for his employees. He also hopes to make partnerships with major retail chain stores.
Jimison said he is working with a company to develop an mobile app for his service. He said he hopes to launch the app on the three-year anniversary of the business, which is in January.
Either way, his hope is to continue to help people in the city out.
“I want it to at least be a service to the public where they can use it to help simplify their lives and make things more convenient for them,” Jimison said.