By Dave Flessner Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A growing number of Chattanoogans are using "Brown Bag Delivery" rather than going to the liquor and convenience stores themselves for beer, wine or liquor.
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
When Dana Eichler was arranging a party at her Chattanooga home this summer, she realized she needed to pick up some alcohol for the festivities and was running out of time.
A friend told Eichler about a new alcohol delivery service in Chattanooga, so she decided to call Brown Bag Delivery to bring her favorite espresso-flavored vodka and Save Me San Francisco wine in time for the party.
"We were kind of in a time bind, having people over to our home, and since I travel for my job (as a nurse) I didn't have time to run out and get everything I needed," she recalled. "It was amazing. They got exactly what we needed, delivered it to our house on time and helped our party be a great success."
Since then, Eichler has used the service a couple of other times and is among a growing number of Chattanoogans who are using Brown Bag Delivery rather than going to the liquor and convenience stores themselves for beer, wine or liquor.
Such alcohol delivery has been legal in Tennessee since July 2015. So far, only 10 delivery businesses have been licensed in all of Tennessee. The only other alcohol delivery business in Chattanooga, the Delivery Guy (www.deliveryguychatt.com), was started in June by 28-year-old Charlie Morrow.
DeWayne Williams, a serial entrepreneur who has started 20 local businesses, launched Brown Bag Delivery in July and is already making nearly 100 of the $20-per-shipment deliveries every week. Although still short of the 250 deliveries a week Williams envisions for Chattanooga, the company founder is confident that he has developed a sound business plan.
In fact, Williams dreams about franchising the business first across the Southeast and ultimately across the country.
So far, Brown Bag uses three employees -- and occasionally some temporary contract workers during peak demand period. The business delivers across Chattanooga and even into Cleveland, which does not have a liquor store.
"We were not the first to open in Tennessee but we are the fastest, we think we are the most professional and we know our customers," he said. "When you're setting up for the party, and making sure that the cards are stacked, the plates are set out, and the music is set up just the way you like; the last thing you should be bothered with is dropping everything for a beer run."
The delivery business grew out of Williams' recognition that there are times when those wanting a drink are too busy or perhaps already intoxicated such that they don't have the time or sobriety to go to the store for their alcohol.
Williams learned about the delivery business running a vending machine company in Ringgold, Ga., from 1995 to 2000. He has also worked in the restaurant, health care, golf course and other businesses through his career.
Williams said he also is eager to give back to the community and is willing to pick up items customers may wish to donate to local charities and make that delivery as part of their service.
To promote the Brown Bag Delivery name, Williams has put his signature bags with the company logo and phone number in liquor stores around the region.
"We give the bags, which have handles on them, to the liquor stores for free and they are bags that people will want to keep around so a lot of people are seeing our message," Williams said.
The business also works with food caterers and bar tenders to help set up and handle parties, when needed.
"We have a staff we can draw from for private events," Williams said, citing a recent party they did for Southern Surgical Arts.
But Williams said he expects the delivery business to grow as it becomes more well known and customers appreciate the value of a safer method of making another beer or liquor run. Williams hopes to soon expand the business to Nashville and then across Florida before trying to franchise the business in many of the 39 states were alcohol delivery is now legal.
"We can deliver very quickly, usually within 35 minutes, and it prevents someone from getting out in their vehicle and risking a DUI or other problem," he said. "We're not for everybody, but we are for those who are conscious that they may have had too much to drink and they want us to deliver to them."