WENATCHEE — Rolling from town to town, Brett & Son Inc. delivers parcels across Central Washington, but with a local touch.
The delivery service has not been as negatively impacted by statewide shutdowns as many local businesses, but their revenue has still suffered.
Owner Virgil Eagle said normally by the second week of March, business and revenue increase. Sales then stay that way until November. This year, the usual surge in business got sidelined by COVID-19.
With a thin profit margin, “it definitely hurts,” he said. “But we’re in a better boat than a lot of places.”
The Wenatchee-based company is “kind of like a mini UPS” that concentrates on same-day deliveries, he said. Customers include organizations such as the PUD, Confluence Health, Columbia Valley Community Health, banks and agriculture businesses.
Most of the deliveries and pickups are to or from businesses. Private customers, such as those living in a residential area, are sometimes serviced as well.
The fact that a lot of those businesses have stayed open, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, has helped keep Brett & Son busier, he said.
Looking at March and April in comparison to last year, the company’s revenue is down about 11.5-12%, he said.
When it comes to increasing business, “right now, there’s not a whole lot more that I can do.”
But in contrast with other businesses which have been hit harder, “I feel pretty lucky,” he said. Eagle also has not had to lay off any of his 19 employees.
One area that has benefited Brett & Son is lower gas prices. Being a service on wheels with lower-than-usual fuel costs has helped cut expenses.
Fortunately for Eagle, business started to pick up a little in early May. Though, he is unsure if the increase in demand is because of re-openings or just a higher demand in service.
The only main business change has been the implementation of safety protocols, he said. Some of these precautions include using a mask, wearing gloves and wiping down delivery rigs.
Drivers have also been delivering and picking up at clinics on a daily basis. Deliveries regularly go to labs, hospitals and community health centers.
Eagle said he always knew people depended on the local parcel service. But in light of the pandemic, he said he has come to realize how important his work is to the community.
When it comes to helping local industries, “I didn’t realize what an integral part we are,” he said.