CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – While many businesses are struggling during the pandemic, one is seeing its numbers soar.
Wing is still testing its drones in Christiansburg and said their deliveries have more than doubled in number. They’re also expanding by partnering with more businesses to be a lifeline during the crisis for other businesses, too.
Wing made history last fall with the first American home drone deliveries in Christiansburg. Fast forward six months to now, and they’re still cruising, but company spokeswoman Alexa Dennett said the landscape has completely changed.
“We believe that our technology at this point in time can be really beneficial, because the technology doesn’t rely on any human-to-human contact," Dennett said.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, people are avoiding stores and staying home. Christiansburg families have been ordering drone deliveries to their doorsteps for months, but now they’re doing it even more.
“We’ve actually seen a significant uptake in our service, with those customers that we are having order from our service, so we’ve had some record-breaking days over the last couple of weeks," Dennett said.
Amid the shutdown, Wing has fast-tracked bringing more stores and products online. You can now order pastries from Mockingbird Cafe for delivery. Owner Donna Speaks said this is crucial for a business that survives on walk-in customers.
“We’ve always been focused on bringing business to the downtown area here in Christiansburg and that’s almost impossible to do right now. So yeah, this is going to make a big difference for us I think," Speaks said.
Luke Brugh owns Brugh Coffee and is offering his beans and cold brew for delivery by drone. He’s wanted to be on Wing’s short list of vendors since the beginning, and now it could help save him during this economic downturn.
“Regardless of what’s going on now, I was super excited about it before and I think for being a small business owner this kind of is perfect timing," Brugh said.
Wing never expected they’d be flying to people who couldn’t go out because of a global pandemic. But Dennett said they’re happy to be a lifeline to both customers and businesses who may otherwise struggle without.
“Particularly in these times to make sure that they’re able to serve their customers and stay open, while complying with all the state directives," Dennett said.
Wing employees still aren’t preparing the food themselves, but rather taking ready-to-go items off the shelf. They are however still stepping up their sanitation in response to the virus outbreak.