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Frank Manning wanted to share his love of cooking with a wider audience when he moved to the Portland area from his native Wisconsin about a year ago. The audience he sought cried out for locally sourced, farm-to-table meals that were easy to prepare and made cooking an enjoyable experience again.
Manning started StayinPDX during the fall of 2016 to fill that need by offering ready-to-make dinners for harried workers who don't have the time or desire to spend hours finding recipes, then shopping and prepping ingredients for a home-cooked meal. StayinPDX offers workers convenience and time savings by doing all the prep work and delivering the meals to offices that have signed up with the company.
Customers pick up their orders to take home, follow the enclosed recipe to prepare the meal, then finish their day by sitting down and enjoying a special meal with family or friends.
Manning met Six Vertical CEO Joshua Enders early in the process of opening his business, and he has leaned on Six Vertical's expertise and suggestions throughout the past year.
Here's how Six Vertical helped StayinPDX get up and running:
Optimizing e-commerce for B2B
When StayinPDX started out, it sold only to individuals, and a standard Shopify online store was all it needed. As the company grew and increased its business clientele — it now serves employees at Vacasa and Salesforce — the entire online experience had to evolve. Six Vertical taught Manning how to boost its e-commerce channel’s capabilities to support complex B2B scenarios and is building these modifications.
Six Vertical supports StayinPDX's business development efforts by meeting with prospects, explaining how the StayinPDX back-end works and gathering information on what new clients would need from the platform to meet their specific needs. Six Vertical essentially acts as an outsourced technology arm of Manning's business and is there to discuss technical matters with new clients when he needs them.
Six Vertical has the expertise to talk to a business account, understand their needs and present them with implementation options that will meet those needs. Six Vertical then processes the customer’s requirements and builds the new capabilities into the StayinPDX platform.
“Six Vertical has deep knowledge of digital commerce experiences,” Manning said. “Having them as our technology partner gives me a ton of confidence when I walk into business development meetings because I know we have the chops to build whatever that account needs.”
Six Vertical has also helped StayinPDX optimize the overall user experience — even when it had nothing to do with technology.
“When we started out, some of the recipe instructions we created were written in long-form,” Manning said. “Looking back, we laugh because we were essentially asking the customer to read ‘War and Peace’ to make the meal. Six Vertical suggested more streamlined cooking instructions, which really helped us optimize the overall experience. We immediately saw a lift in repeat customers.”
We sat down with Manning over coffee late one morning to talk about his experience starting up a business and learning more about how Six Vertical created value for StayinPDX.
Give us your 30-second elevator pitch.
We're a platform that delivers locally sourced meals to office workers or people at their apartment buildings. We want to create an experience where you can sit down with family for 20-30 minutes and have a meal together. There are other businesses like this, but we stand out because our ingredients are fresh, 100 percent locally sourced, and you can place the order and receive the delivery the same day.
What is the value do you provide your customers?
Speed and convenience. Our customers can order by 1:00 p.m. and get their meal the same day. We deliver directly to the office or their home building, eliminating the trip to the store.
When our customers pick up their meal kit at the end of a busy day, they feel a sense of relief because they know they have all the makings of an enjoyable night in without the stress that comes from figuring out what’s for dinner.
Why did you choose to partner with Six Vertical?
I met Joshua through a local fitness group, and we started talking technology right away. He agreed to try my service before it was even a thing, and he was great about giving me early feedback and ideas that turned out to be crucial. He understands the e-commerce space far beyond what I was even thinking. I didn't look anyplace else. It was just a natural fit.
How has Six Vertical helped your company?
Six Vertical is helping us move up market and go after very large corporate accounts. We're working on expanding right now, and we just landed a contract with Salesforce.com. And we’re excited to say we're working on a mega contract that we'll find out about in a couple of weeks.
The value Six Vertical provides is just being able to know that although we’re a startup, we have the technology know-how to service big companies. Having all the technical expertise I need thanks to Six Vertical is reassuring because I know they can figure out whatever technical challenges are thrown at me.
Without Six Vertical, we’d still be chipping away and growing in small increments, going after small accounts. Now we can confidently pitch accounts with tens of thousands of employees.
Where do you see StayinPDX in two years?
We are super focused right now on landing bigger offices. While a lot of startups can pull the trigger on bringing us on whenever, larger companies get their budgets set in January, so if we can land them now, we'll be ready for a real solid start in January. Long-term, I'd like to get into another city. My vision for StayinPDX is for the company to build the back-end offices here and add more locations. There are some big companies back in my home in Wisconsin that I'd like to set up with, and Seattle is real close by.
How can we learn more about StayinPDX?
About the Author
Rene Ferran has spent more than 25 years providing quality content to a variety of online and print publications. He spent 15 years as the lead high school sportswriter for the Tri-City Herald, where he honed his deadline writing skills and ability to quickly assess situations to produce clear, concise and compelling copy.
When he's not slumped over a keyboard, you can probably find him officiating a youth sports event or spending time with his wife and two teenage children.