The Port Supply Co. is a new mobile app and online platform that allows Islanders to order food and other goods for contactless pickup and delivery. This practice has become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid spreading the virus. The software was created by Patrick and Ted Courtney and Sarah and Josh Mangerson as a “local, small-business-friendly alternative” to popular third-party delivery apps.
According to Josh Mangerson, technology lead and co-founder of Port Supply Co., the company started when Patrick and Ted Courtney began considering a third-party delivery app for their own businesses. They quickly discovered how expensive it can be to partner with companies like Grubhub and DoorDash. “It takes a lot away from the small businesses,” Josh Mangerson said. “My background’s technology, and Sarah’s is design, so we all put our heads together and said, ‘What if we built a platform that had similar functionality to the traditional third-party delivery apps, but was business-friendly?’”
According to a press release, traditional third-party apps often charge businesses high monthly fees, and take commissions of up to 20 percent on each delivery. The Port Supply Co. instead charges customers a “6.5 percent service fee, which covers credit card processing (3.5 percent) and a minimal service charge (3 percent).”
“We’re charging the customer,” Mangerson said, “but what you get for that is the confidence that everyone is considering what we need to do to serve and get products out into the marketplace safely.” With designated pickup times and online purchasing, Port Supply Co. offers a socially-distant alternative to waiting in line or exchanging cash.
Island residents and visitors can access the Port Supply Co. marketplace online, or download the app on the Apple App Store and Google Play. After setting up an account and entering credit card information, customers can place pickup orders online with a variety of local businesses.
MV Mycological, the Larder, the FV Martha Rose, and soon, Island Wampum, are a few of the Island businesses already partnered with Port Supply Co., as well as two Edgartown restaurants owned by Patrick and Ted Courtney — the Port Hunter and the Covington. The four co-founders have been in touch with additional Island businesses and, according to Mangerson, interest is building. “We’re booked for adding anyone this week,” Mangerson said. “Next week we’ll be fielding more inquiries, I’m sure.”
The Port Supply Co. doesn’t offer delivery yet, but the co-founders hope to introduce the option in the coming weeks. “Because of the uncertainty, and what the state is saying and the health departments on Island are saying, we’re not allowing the deliveries to go out yet,” Mangerson said. “When they do go out, they’ll have to be through merchant delivery drivers — they won’t be third-party outsource drivers, like other third-party delivery apps.”
While the Port Supply Co. does hope to see expansion long-term, its current sights are set on the present. “Our focus right now is the Island. How do we help everybody have a really good summer, and get the most out of the seasonal economy that they can, at the lowest cost and in the safest way?” Mangerson said.
Port Supply Co. will also use a portion of its revenue to help those who have had to turn to food pantries because they’re out of work. “We know that not everybody is going to have access to buy things on this platform,” Mangerson said. “So if you make a purchase on Port Supply Co., a portion of the service fee we charge will be donated to the Island Food Pantry.”
Businesses who are interested in working with Port Supply Co. can email firstname.lastname@example.org , as listed on the website. Businesses who reach out will receive a link to create a merchant dashboard, and a user manual with instructions for setup, free of charge.
After initial communication, businesses are free to proceed as usual. “We’re not managing anything, we’re providing a digital platform that a store can build on for free,” Mangerson said. “So we’ll give you the user guide and help you get set up, but then it just becomes managing any other business.”
Mangerson acknowledged that businesses may have questions or run into issues when familiarizing themselves with the Port Supply Co. platform. “We’re here to work through that with anybody who is interested in working with us,” he said. “You’ll have our support and our help.”
“It just goes back to what everybody is saying right now: We’re all in this together,” Mangerson said. “We want to come up with solutions that help everybody, and hopefully that’s what we’ve built here.”