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Community Couriers // Ben Wilson

I’m about to tell you about a guy here in Jacksonville that will brighten your Florida weather day up. Oh, and if we’re talking quirky, this post has it covered. We want to introduce you to one of the nicest guys you’ll probably ever meet, and he’s willing to go fetch your groceries for you. We’re going to virtually introduce you to Ben Wilson of Community Couriers but after you read this we suggest you physically meet him.

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Let’s break down exactly what Community Couriers is, if you don’t already know. Their tag line is, “From the store to your door.” That’s exactly what founder Ben does. He’ll run to fetch your groceries for you. You have a busy lifestyle and can’t make it to the store, or work meetings are keeping you in, or you physically aren’t capable of leaving your home. No worries, Ben will be smiling from his bike, through the aisles, to the check out, to your door, just to meet your grocery needs. Not just groceries, either! He bikes for miscellaneous tasks for people too. As his first customer was Jim Alabiso who had him deliver some checks to the bank. One of my favorite things Ben does on his bike is deliver food from your choice of restaurant to your cubicle or your kitchen. If you still don’t understand, let’s just say Community Couriers is a grocery shopping, restaurant delivery service that is sustainability based using a bicycle in the urban core.

Bicycles have always been a love of Ben’s; he rode bicycles all through college, but after getting married he noticed the trend that all the married folk do. Those l.b.’s creep in, so he and his wife took to bicycling once again. He found himself loving it so much he’d even use it to commute to work. He’d dream of ways to create a business to involve his beloved bicycle. During his commute from work to home, people would ask him if he could grab something on his ride home. That’s when it hit him; this could be the business! To add into this, Ben has spent the last 12 years working at Publix! So if you’re asking him to get your groceries for you, you know that he knows where it’s located, and can guarantee the job will be done with excellence and efficiency. Ben retired from Publix last April, the same time Community Couriers became an established business. 022414sitc_3

Ben and his wife Kelly put a lot of dreams and planning into Community Couriers way before April 2013. They needed to figure out logistics on everything; pricing, graphics, and how they could make it their own. This is a completely new idea to Jacksonville, but there are other bike services in other cities. They reached out to other cities to get some guidance. Ben gave me my own Community Couriers tote bag to take with me to the store. Since the logo was sitting right in front of us, we got to talking about it. The logo was very important to him, because the stereotypes associated with cyclists isn’t always positive. So with this friendly logo being the first impression you have of Community Couriers (and Ben), we hope that if you do hold on to those stereotypes, you’d forget them. After meeting him and hearing his vision we can assure you, you’ll be dealing with a business and a business man who is incredibly nice.  Thanks for my tote, I tote-ally love it!photo

A typical day for Ben usually occurs between 10am and 10pm. Nothing is really planned out when he starts his day. He’ll get ready as soon as he gets up and will sit down to do behind the scenes work. Grocery deliveries start getting called in, then lunch deliveries. He then usually has a short break to catch up on any bike maintenance, then on to the dinner deliveries. How many places does Ben usually travel to in a day? Around 4 places in a day but that will soon expand as Ben is going to be an inventor in One Spark this year.

We’re incredibly excited for One Spark! We know the amazing things that came from it last year and can’t wait for this year! You’ll be able to find Ben and Community Couriers in the Adams Street Venue.  His project in One Spark is under green innovation. As we were talking about what he wants to gain from One Spark he used the term Winfinity. Everyone wins when you look at Community Couriers. At One Spark, Ben is looking at exposure the most. Aside from exposure, his financial goal is $25,000 that will go towards legal counsel as their business grows and they will need to hire employees. He’d also love to look into purchasing a cargo trike that’d make grabbing groceries easier! If you meet Ben during One Spark and want to use the services, don’t worry, they’ll still be up and running.. I mean biking.. Your courier during that time will be Ben’s wife!

Now that you’ve read this post you want to call Ben up right now, we know. Well let us tell you Community Couriers will travel to all of your favorite neighborhoods in the Urban Core. They’ll trek wherever you want but the most popular places he goes is grocery shopping and restaurant delivery. Ben has a customer base currently made up of 40 groups. A lot of them are reoccurring customers. No matter how big this business gets, Ben never wants to stop riding. He wants to make an honest wage out of this and never wants to be found sitting behind a desk. During our interview he gave a great shout out to LakeShore Bicycles. Some of Ben’s favorite places to ride are downtown. He loves all of the tiny hidden gems there, however, his favorite place to ride in the whole city is on Heckscher Drive.

So, go ahead, pick up your phone and give Ben a call. Let him know you’re somewhere in the city!

Amanda Gibson

Photography by Amanda Lenhardt

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