New online business delivers groceries to students

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    Opportunity knocked for Reid Waller and Nik Hall when the pair noticed the struggles endured by first-year students attempting to transport food and other necessities back to their dorms. 

    In response, the two sophomore business majors founded DormSteps, an online service that will deliver students’ groceries directly to their dorms or apartments.

    Hall and Waller said they recognized a need for a more convenient system after struggling with the transportation of their own groceries.

    Waller, a finance and entrepreneurial management double major, said he realized they could expand the idea into a business while watching first-year students struggle to carry bulkier items, like bundles of water bottles, from their cars to their third and fourth floor dorm rooms.

    “When you are going to and from your car it becomes kind of a hassle,” Waller said. “For freshmen, parking is weird on campus and so it ends up taking a lot of time out of your day.”

    DormSteps offers a wide variety of products for delivery, including school supplies, breakfast food, energy drinks and even bulk items.

    Pre-selected packages are also available for order, such as the Finals Pack, which comes with an assortment of candy, chips and energy drinks for students who are busy and stressed during finals week.

    Waller said he and Hall decided the project was possible after reviewing similar past companies that had failed, but nevertheless provided a model structure to follow.

    “I looked at pricing strategy to see if it would be feasible,” Waller said. “It’s been done in the past, particularly in the dot-com era in the 90s, but with limited success.”

    Waller said the pair felt the failures of previous companies were due in large part to an over-extended reach. Waller said applying the same concepts to a smaller-scale, college-sized population made them work.

    DormSteps, which officially launched Jan. 16, is still in its first stages. Other than Ryan Gardner, a University of Texas student who is in charge of the company’s graphic design, Hall and Waller are the only employees.

    In addition to managing marketing and finances, Hall and Waller are also the deliverymen.

    “The beauty is it’s just me and him right now,” Waller said. “In the future, when we get more demand, we will be looking to hire.”

    The pair make their deliveries from 4-7 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday and from 1-4 p.m. every weekend.

    “A large part is just getting our name out there,” Waller said. “The main part is just awareness for TCU students, but we have received a ton of positive reviews and a lot of traffic on the website.”

    Waller said once the company has an established customer base at TCU, the pair plan to expand their business to the SMU and Baylor campuses as well.