Danielle ’12 and Megan ’13 LaRiviere could sell iceboxes to Eskimos. Or coals to Newcastle. Even apples to Yakima.
Three years ago, prompted by their insurance agent father who bemoaned the lack of good snack food, they started visiting businesses around their hometown of Yakima offering to provide them with a steady supply of apples. Subscribers get a small cooler stocked weekly with the best apple varieties available.
From the start, their Apple-a-Day service got a “pretty good response,” they say.
Good enough, that is, that when it came time to return to school for fall semester, they bought a van, hired a delivery driver, and conducted their customer service from Pullman.
After three summers of building Apple-a-Day, they expanded into the Tri-Cities. Then, when it came time for Megan to graduate, they got to thinking, says Megan: “If it works where apples are everywhere, it’s probably going to work where people are a lot more health-conscious and have a lot more money.”
So Danielle and a friend, Lexi Schmidt ’12, who had joined the venture, moved to Bellevue and started building a clientele there. Clients now range from professional offices with four employees to Puget Sound Energy’s headquarters, with coolers in many locations.
Danielle and Lexi pick up their apples on Monday at the Peterson Fruit warehouse in Mukilteo, then spend the rest of the week making sales and deliveries and appearing at networking events. They do no advertising, relying on word of mouth, cold calls, and their ever-present Apple-a-Day uniforms, red polos and jackets.
Megan was an entrepreneurship major and entered their business plan in an annual business plan competition sponsored by WSU and the University of Washington. She and Danielle, a Spanish major and business minor, won the award for “most passionate.”
Once they pass 70 clients on the east side of the west side, they plan to move into Seattle.
Next? Oysters to Shelton? Potatoes to Othello? Doubtful. They’re too busy.