When Alper Ekmekci lived in Hoboken, he would often come home from work to find a notice of a package on his front door, but the post office or UPS center would be closed for the evening.
After having missed many packages, Ekmekci decided to have them delivered to his office in Manhattan, but that didn’t work out much better. Once he had his computer delivered there but it was lost within the company’s in-house mailing system.
After days of searching, Ekmekci recovered the package but had to spend $50 on a taxi to transport himself and three large boxes back to Hoboken, where he carried them up three flights of stairs.
That adventure led the 29-year-old financial analyst for JP Morgan Chase to leave his job and create his own company, Doorman Online LLC, which hand-delivers packages when working folks are actually home.
“People want things to be convenient,” said Ekmekci. “Many in Hoboken are working long hours in the city, they are commuting. They live very busy lives and don’t have the time to take a day off work to get a package.”
More than 50 customers
Doorman Online began in July of this year and has over 50 customers, according to Ekmekci, who currently operates out of an office in Weehawken servicing all of Hudson County and parts of Bergen County. Ekmekci plans to extend his business into Manhattan in the near future.
So far, the majority of his customers are female, though he believes more men will follow suit in time.
In order to use the service, one must first register at www.doormanonline.com and use the company’s mailing address as the destination for their delivery. Delivery fees begin at $5.99 and, depending on the weight of the package, can cost up to $45.99 for an 80-pound package.
All packages are guaranteed up to $100 and are hand-delivered by either Ekmekci or one of his three employees between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, though Ekmekci says exceptions can be made.
Say good-bye to shopping carts
Home delivery of packages is only one example of new Manhattan-style service businesses to come to Hoboken. Thanks to the on-line grocer Fresh Direct, residents can get groceries delivered as well.
In July of 2005, Fresh Direct began delivering to Hoboken addresses. With the click of a mouse, local residents can have their food delivered to them.
“If a person doesn’t have the time to spend in a supermarket or doesn’t want to wait on the back of a long line, they come to us,” said Fresh Direct spokeswoman Suzanne Matulay.
Fresh Direct specializes in fresh fruits and groceries from a variety of sources, and offers meals prepared by their own chefs.
The new Shop-Rite supermarket on Madison Street also has an on-line ordering and delivery service, and can also deliver groceries that people buy in the store.
A single source for Hoboken restaurants
Another company with a similar mission is Seamless Web Professional Solutions, which enables companies and individuals to order from restaurants, caterers, florists and other local vendors via the Internet. SeamlessWeb currently services over 1,000 companies throughout the United States and United Kingdom after beginning in New York City in 1999.
In February of 2005, the company came to Hoboken because it saw a growing demand from consumers and businesses for online food ordering, according to SeamlesssWeb spokeswoman Kristine Grow.
Once a company registers online at www.seamlessweb.com, its employees are able to order their lunch or dinner without ever taking their eyes off the computer screen.
Don’t throw it away; sell it
In addition to the many ways one can have items delivered to their home, now there is an easy, profitable way to remove unwanted items as well.
My Urban Auctioneer, an eBay drop-off store located at 1320 Bloomfield St., holds and lists the item online for a cost of either $5 or 25 to 30 percent of the price if the item is sold. The Auctioneer opened up shop in November of 2005 and reports of having well over 300 clients so far.
“Hoboken residents like convenience,” said Priscilla Valls, who co-owns the store with Jason Schlusser. “With a limited amount of space in their apartment and with people constantly upgrading, they don’t want to be wasteful and it would be nice to have extra cash in your pocket.”
Though it could not be confirmed, there are rumors that a second eBay drop-off store will be opening up at 834 Washington St. sometime in the near future. Valls believes that with the amount of turnover in the city, there is space enough for two businesses that offer the same service.
Michael Mullins can be reached at email@example.com.