Cost of gas final straw in closure of Kamloops delivery business
Inflation, soaring gas prices and staff shortages are the biggest factors behind the closure of a popular Kamloops delivery service.
Mitchie’s Delivery permanently closed a few days ago after making up to 900 food deliveries per week to the community of Kamloops for the past three years.
“Well, Kamloops, it’s been a wild ride since 2019,” owner Sean Martin posted on a final Facebook announcement, July 11. “As of today we have decided to close our doors. Or turn off our engines if you will.”
Martin said he is disappointed to say goodbye to the business and all of the people in the community he has interacted with, but he couldn’t survive the increasing costs of food, gas and vehicle costs, along with difficulties finding staff to hire.
He said it was the sky high gas prices that ultimately did the business in.
“The cost of driving doubled in the past four months,” he said. “We just didn’t have the means to up our game and pay people what they are worth in an economy with $2 per litre gas and expensive car repairs and maintenance. Add to that bank fees and the cost of advertising.”
He said as the cost of food increases, the prices of meals from restaurants increase, which in turn affects delivery services.
“Customers are paying higher prices for food so they are not all going to be in a position to then add on higher delivery costs, or have a whole lot left over to tip the drivers with."
Martin went from receiving over fifty job applications every week at the beginning of the business venture in 2019 to receiving next to none this year.
“Toward the end of running my business, it was almost impossible to find staff to hire.”
Martin fears the worst for the future of other small businesses.
“I have a low disposition toward the economy that is coming toward us,” he said. “Entry level workers are going to feel some of the pain but it’s the business owners who are going to take on the brunt and it will be very tough to survive."
Mitchie’s Delivery service was started up by Sean Martin and Mitch Hughes, who later left the business, six months before the COVID pandemic sparked lockdowns.
“When the pandemic happened people supported us and we were able to scale up really quick,” he said. “Initially COVID hindered us, I thought we were going to fail, but then the government deemed delivery as an essential service and restaurants opened for takeout. We went from 40 to 900 deliveries per week.”
When asked what he thinks of his three years in business, Martin said he loved it.
“A lot of our customers have been chatting with us on social media and ordering three or four times per week,” he said. “We had great relationships with people and were well supported.”
Since the announcement of the closure of Mitchie’s Delivery, Martin said he has received positive but sad feedback from former customers.
He is thankful to the community for the support he has received.
“Mitch and I also want to thank the restaurants we worked with and the drivers who stuck with us,” Martin said. “I want to thank my parents who stepped in to help manage the business. Please keep supporting local small businesses.”
Martin plans to take a break and go travelling for a few months.
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