Mercer opens delivery service

Published 7:26 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

Maurice Mercer left the Sorrell College of Business and returned home to Brimingham, taking a job where he spent much time traveling, but when his mother “Kat” got sick, he found a more stable job to help take care of her.

It was during that time that he discussed the concept of food and grocery delivery, a service that was lacking at the time. When she passed away, he was moved to come back to the idea, starting the business “Kat’s Delivery” in her name in 2014.

Now five years later, Mercer has brought the business to Troy, which has recently seen a boom in the food and grocery delivery market. Local startup Quickfix began last year delivering food and groceries to homes and the national brand Doordash has also entered the market. Publix also offers grocery delivery through Instacart and Walmart has already moved to grocery pickup and delivery may not be far from joining the store’s services.

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But Mercer said he believes his delivery service has a place in the market, expanding a successful business in Birmingham.

“We started as a grocery delivery service in Birmingham, and that was when the national chain Ship was there – but we outlasted them,” Mercer said. “We adapted our model and looked for niche areas to compete with a multi-million dollar company. We provided meal prep delivery and catering and at one point were doing over 2,500 meals a day working with local chefs. After more research, we realized food delivery was a growing segment and we transformed to a food logistics firm.”

The service is not offering grocery delivery in Troy, Mercer said the technology isn’t there for smaller startups to compete with the bigger chains. But it’s technology that Mercer said he believes sets his service apart in the market.

“Users can download the app, order on the website, or even call in an order through our dispatch center in Tampa, Florida,” Mercer said. “The app and website are the fastest and easiest way to order though.”

Mercer said he sees the U.S. economy shifting toward services.

“We’re seeing more services being performed and people going to work for themselves,” Mercer said. “As customers, we want it right now; we lack the time to do all the things we want and we don’t mind paying a small premium to pay get whatever we need. The driver likes the flexibility. They can have a full-time job or be a full-time student and make this extra money around their schedule.”

Mercer said he is excited to branch his service into a place that feels like a second home.

“I have family in Ozark and Enterprise, so I’m down this way a lot,” Mercer said. “It feels good to come back and employ people here. I actually had an employee in Birmingham who transferred to Troy and he called me and said he’s ready to start. That’s one of the cool things about branching out.”

After launching on August 1, the service has 20 restaurants that customers can choose from and three partners in Flo’s, Momma Goldberg’s and Trojan Teryaki. Delivery for the partnering restaurants is free, while delivery fees for other restaurants varies by mile from $2.50 to $7, but Mercer said the majority of orders are delivered for a fee of $5 or less.