Brandon Rhodes of Rolling Oasis Grocers is helping his community one delivery at a time. Rolling Oasis is a grocery delivery service not quite any other. Powered by bicycles and a lot of passion, Rolling Oasis is delivering healthy, organic, and affordable food to communities lacking good grocery stores and experiencing food insecurity. As Brandon put it, he is “delivering good by delivering good food for all.”
The Good Delivery: You’ll find Brandon delivering produce by bike in Lents on Thursdays. For $20 a week, he delivers a bag of produce to a family’s front door. This simple delivery saves that family one trip to the store that week, or 1200 trips to the store each year. These deliveries save families not only precious time, but also precious resources, such as transportation costs.
Delivering good by delivering good food for all.Brandon Rhoes
Healthy Habits: At the same time, Rolling Oasis Grocers is providing fresh, healthy produce to families who live in areas where that is just simply hard to find. Brandon shares how the children are excited to see what’s in the bag. Mothers keep their delivered bags unopened until her children come home, so they can grab their favorite piece or fruit or vegetable. One by one, Brandon is changing eating and snacking habits. These families love their vegetables.
Smart Delivery: Brandon delivers the groceries by bike not just because he loves to bike, but also because it makes economic sense. First, there’s the savings in fuel costs, not to mention the cost of a delivery truck. These costs savings allow Rolling Oasis Grocers to deliver the produce at about the same cost as purchasing the same quality food at the store.
Sharing by Bike: Plus bicycle delivery helps him connect with his customers. It’s just so much more personal this way. Brandon believes a profitable enterprise is defined as a shared abundance. The market, he says, serves humanity, and not the other way around. Brandon is developing a business that works for everyone – business owner, employee, customer, and community. The simple act of delivering produce by bike is a market of shared abundance in action.
Serving More: Brandon is hoping to grow his business beyond Lents. He wants to serve more communities, and is working toward expanding into other neighborhoods, such as Cully and Woodlawn. Rolling Oasis Grocers is looking to partner with neighborhood nonprofits willing to offer up their facilities as distribution hubs for the grocery deliveries. Rolling Oasis Grocers is also using crowd funding to raise funds. Check out the Indiegogo Campaign.
Resonance: The idea for Rolling Oasis Grocers grew from conversations Brandon had with his good friend who operates Vocoform, a Portland nonprofit. They were batting ideas around, and the idea for bicycle delivered groceries just resonated with Brandon. He could see how it would work and envision the plan and logistics. So, Brandon set about to make it happen.
About Lents: Brandon started Rolling Oasis Grocers in Lents because that’s where he lives. He loves the sense of community there, and feels even more connected now. He says that’s part of the joy of what he’s doing. He is providing value to his community, but also receiving value of community and connectedness in return. He is making friends with his customers, and their lives are more integrated. In fact, he’s decided the neighborhood needs a new slogan: “Keep Lents Weirder.”
Small Change: Brandon landed on the east side of Portland around 2005 and has no plans to leave. Throughout his professional life, Brandon has worked to improve the lives of those who live here, one person at a time. Previously with the Parish Collective, and now with Rolling Oasis Grocers, Brandon is creating change on a very personal level. He believes that change can be small and is often overlooked. But small changes lead to big things.
Produce Pedalers: I’m hoping the idea of bicycle delivered groceries really catches on. It’s just good in so many ways, from a smaller carbon footprint to providing delivered groceries economically. Brandon calls himself, and the future deliverers he plans to employ, produce pedalers. But I think they are pedaling more than produce and groceries. They are pedaling a new way to think about the economy and a new way to serve our communities.
Featured image source: Brandon Rhodes