They promised local distributors that the exposure would benefit their brands. They told them that their venture represented the future of convenience shopping, on the not-so-unreasonable grounds that goPuff understands millennials in a way that outdated corner stores do not. And their enthusiasm was contagious.
"We are our own customers," Gola says. After all, he came up with the idea for a convenience product delivery service when he, as the only one with a car, grew tired of being asked to take his college roommates, like Ilishayev, on late-night corner store runs.
The company's platform also reflects their understanding of millennials, Gola says. They focus on connecting directly to the customer with humorous product descriptions, original merchandise and daily video content. They care about more than just reliable service. "People are following us because they love what we're doing," he says.
GoPuff now makes thousands of deliveries a day. In Philadelphia, where the company first launched, it is currently the largest provider of both ice cream and beer of any distributor, he says.
As they have convinced others to buy into their vision and expanded their customer base, Gola believes their youth has been an advantage.
"There's never a better time to start a business," he says. "What's the worst that can happen? You fail when you're young?"
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