goPuff, a Philadelphia-based startup that specializes in round-the-clock, on-demand deliveries, is expanding its service in the Chicagoland area up to Evanston, the company announced today.
The company launched in Chicago in June 2016 and has been operating as far south as Chinatown, as far north as Uptown and as west as Irving Park. Now customers can get items delivered north of Uptown and into Evanston, home to Northwestern University.
Customers can order a myriad of convenience-store-like items from goPuff, either online or through their mobile app. They range from snacks and candy, to phone chargers and laundry detergent. The service also provides common items college students might want, things like notebooks, ramen noodles and ping pong balls.
goPuff was founded in 2013 by Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, two Drexel University undergraduates. They only offered about 50 products when they first launched, but now provide more than 3,000. They operate in 20 other major markets around the country, including Boston, Denver and Atlanta.
goPuff aims to deliver items in less than 30 minutes, and if orders include more than $49 worth of merchandise, the delivery is free. Otherwise, customers pay a flat rate delivery fee of $1.95.
“goPuff is designed to make your life easier,” said Jake Levin, director of marketing at goPuff. “The idea is redefining convenience.”
To promote business among its target demographic, college students and millennials, goPuff is visiting major Chicago college campuses this week, including DePaul, Northwestern and Loyola Universities.
goPuff won’t be stopping by the University of Chicago, though. The company doesn’t deliver in Hyde Park, where U of C is. However, Levin said the company plans to introduce service there in the future.
goPuff also delivers alcohol in some regions. Beer, wine and liquor will be available for delivery in Evanston later this year, Levin said, but the company is still working to acquire a liquor license to deliver alcohol in Chicago city limits.
goPuff says it’s simpler, cheaper and faster than other delivery services in the space, like Postmates, a San Francisco-based delivery service that operates in Chicago.
“Unlike other delivery services that are going to a store, picking [an item] up and bringing it to you, we’re actually controlling the entire process from beginning to end,” Levin said.
This model allows them to save costs and deliver items 24/7, since they don’t have to depend on retailers to be open as a way to retrieve items. goPuff’s merchandise, which is sourced from national distributors, is stored in regional warehouses owned by the company. Its Chicago warehouse is in Lincoln Park and they employ about 15 people there.
To date, goPuff has raised about $8.25 million in funding.
“Chicago is a really great market for us,” Levin said. “People in Chicago will be able to find great use with [goPuff], especially when it gets a little bit colder and it might be hard to get around.”