Adam Haber is the cofounder and CEO of Trellus, an on-demand, same-day delivery service and marketplace that formally launched in January 2021. The Long Beach-based business currently works with businesses in Nassau County and as far east as the Sagtikos Parkway in Suffolk, and delivers from all of Queens to Montauk.
What need does your company meet?
We’re much less expensive than a courier service, about half the price or even less. The merchant partner buys a shipping label, just like with UPS. That alerts the closest driver to come get it. You don’t have to call a courier service. It’s user friendly. You don’t even have to interact with us. The purpose is to service only small businesses and create a marketplace that can compete with Amazon where you can on-demand order anything within the service radius of our platform and get it quicker.
Is your goal to help local businesses compete with companies on the internet?
Our business model is to give the small, downtown business and home-based businesses getting their butts kicked by Amazon a way to compete. We’re helping them to compete in time. I feel that having a flourishing downtown helps the community thrive. It helps with home values and quality of life.
Is this the shop local message?
Every politician says, “Shop local, save energy.” People will only do something if it adds value to their lives. Shop local and get things quicker is a lot different than shop local.
Why is it called “Trellus?”
A trellis is a network that connects things together in gardens. The website domain name was $27,000. Spelling it with an “us” was 10 dollars. It was much better for us. It checked several boxes for us, a unique word, a recognizable brand.
How did you get involved with this?
I do a lot of venture investing. My background is in finance and real estate. I probably have 50 investments in start-ups. This is one I’m all in on. With the others I’m a limited partner and passive investor. With this one I’m a cofounder and putting capital in and very excited about helping small businesses compete.
Where’d you get the idea?
In 2016, when my son and I went to visit colleges, we went to several colleges around the country. He ended up going to Wake Forest. There were no or few individual stores where the person knows your name, what you like. The small-town feel wasn’t there. I saw Northern Boulevard have empty storefronts. Why? Because Amazon provides goods and services cheaper and people don’t have to leave their homes. I thought if we can do the same thing, it would work. People want convenience.
How did you create the company?
I partnered with Brian Berkerey and JR Jensen. I went door to door to get feedback, to see if there was a business there. After I had signed up 40 or 50 businesses, we knew we had something special. We’re raising $2 million in seed money, which we’re probably going to close on very shortly.
How widely is Trellus used?
So far we have 90 businesses. Some libraries like using us. We have special rates for nonprofits. We have a nonprofit diaper-delivery company. We work with services, firms like legal firms, for paperwork. But the crux of our business is small and home-based business. We do an average of 100 deliveries a day and are growing rapidly. Some of our merchant partners end up working with other businesses. This isn’t just “B” to “C.” It’s also “B” to “B.”
What categories do you work with?
We do not do cooked food. It’s an extremely crowded space. We created an advertising platform, a marketplace where we drive people to shop local. People click on the links of the website of our merchant partners or even call them. They shop with the businesses. They can do UPS and curbside pickup. If they want to do same-day delivery, they use us. We integrate with Shopify, so it can be a selection at checkout if you want it the same day.
Where do I go if I want to use your service?
The website is bytrellus.com. As a consumer, go to our marketplace. Click on any of the categories. We do food, butchers, seafood shops, bakeries, chocolate shops, and candy. Most of our deliveries are within two hours. We guarantee them the same day. We only do small, independently owned businesses and franchisees to give them a way to compete.
What’s the cost?
There’s a fee for a business to be on our marketplace between $9.99 and $99 a month, depending on how many deliveries they do. The delivery fee within 5 miles is between $6.99 and $9.99 up to 50 pounds, as long as it’s in one box. If it’s outside 5 miles, it’s $1.50 a mile above that. When you do multiple deliveries, we have a batching system. We’re so much less expensive than UPS or a courier service. As a consumer, it’s up to the business whether they eat the cost of delivery or pass the cost on to you. Our drivers get tips from consumers, if they want to give them.
Do you expect Trellus will be even busier for the holidays?
Our businesses have already said we’ll be doing many more deliveries. A lot of the toy stores, chocolate shops, those businesses and more are going to be very busy during the holidays. We’re ready for the holiday seasons. If people want to shop local and get it the same day, even up to Christmas Eve, we’re here.
Are you hiring?
We’re hiring rapidly, executive positions in marketing and tech, and we always need more drivers. Just look at our website to see what positions we have.
How do you hope to expand?
We sign up merchant partner businesses in all of Nassau County and in Suffolk out to the Sagtikos, however we are expanding rapidly and plan on being all over Long Island by the end of the first quarter of next year. We’re going to offer a lot of services. We’re going to offer credit card processing, advertising, basket optimization services to have bigger sales.
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