Gary Graves’ business, Keys Fisheries, is quickly gaining a following around its home state.
But with growing success came a logistical problem: how could the processor and distributor of lobster and stone crab, based in Marathon, Florida, in the state’s southern tip, quickly and efficiently make deliveries to all of its new customers across the state?
Many of these first-time orders are small, test orders, and are coming from restaurants or retailers located in urban locations in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville. After much thinking, Graves said he decided to buy a Ford Transit 350 extended-height freezer truck.
“This truck can get into tight spaces, like restaurants in the middle of cities. You can get it anywhere you can take a car,” he said. “If I got a bigger truck, I would have been restricted in how I could make deliveries.”
Graves said he wants the focus of his job – and his company – to be on seafood and not the intricacies of delivery driving. So his goal with the small truck is to build up a loyal customer base and then pass off distribution onto someone else, he said.
“The whole idea of the small vehicle is that we don’t want to manage a whole fleet of trucks or the complication of hiring and managing a bunch of drivers,” Graves said. “We want to establish some good business and then find other ways to distribute, working with other people already driving the route if possible.”