They first started kicking around a business idea when they were both washing dishes at the Sugar Thai Cuisine.
Hard, honest work to be sure, but they had ideas of something bigger and they had no idea how vital their delivery business would be to a community under the national stay-at-home directive to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Central Washington University students Juan Zamorano (22) and Dante Palmisano’s (23) established Ano Delivery Service in April of last year and it turned out to be a saving grace in turbulent times. With restaurants closed and people asked to stay at home, the delivery business has become a vital link in the community and businesses around Ellensburg.
“We knew we wanted to start a business and when we started doing the research we saw where there was a need for delivery in Ellensburg,” said Zamorano, who is a mechanical engineering major at CWU and a 2015 Ellensburg High School graduate. “We had no idea the virus was coming, but when we expanded our deliveries to anywhere and everywhere, we saw a response from the community.
“We’re both full-time students, full-time business owners, full-time delivery drivers. We didn’t expect for it to be this crazy, but we’re super grateful and blessed for the opportunity to serve the community. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for us.”
Ano Delivery charges a straight $6 for deliveries within a three-mile radius and 80 cents a mile outside of that range. They deliver anything from take-out meals, groceries and pharmacy pick-ups. They are also working with local restaurants to provide delivery service for customers who cannot use the drive-through windows.
“We are associated with Ellensburg Pasta and other restaurants. With the association, we can do cross marketing. We promote them on our social media and website and they do the same with us,” Zamorano said. “We’re not necessarily a partnership, but they allow us to put up posters and business cards for our service.
“With the Pasta Company, customers will place an order on our website or they can call. We go into the restaurant as a customer, pay for the food and take to the customer for reimbursement, plus the delivery fee.”
Ano Delivery was established in April of 2019. Zamorano and Palmisano had no idea at that time just how valuable a resource their business would become. They were just a couple of college guys trying to implement a business plan. But it turned into something much more as America was hit with a pandemic.
“When we first started, we thought we’d just target Central students. Students were more inclined to pay more for services. Most of them were from cities on the West Side where delivery is just another part of the day,” Zamorano said. “When we started offering delivery throughout Ellensburg, started really catching on.
“Parents that were working with kids at home would call in and pay over the phone and we’d deliver to their residence. It’s been mostly food delivery from restaurants, but now we’re starting to branch out to groceries deliveries. People can go online to the store and ask us to go pick it up.”
ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
For the time being, it’s just Zamorano and Palmisano driving on the deliveries, which have been right around 30 a day. But in rush situations, they hire additional drivers to make sure everything runs smooth.
“Dante is the idea guy, he’s more of an entrepreneur. In fact, the posters around town were his idea,” Zamorano said. “Delivery has always been a luxury service, but now days it’s become way more important. We are willing to do the delivery and help local businesses that are trying to get by because we’re all in this together.”