This Year’s Holiday Heroes: Local Delivery Workers Bring the Season Home
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing almost everything over the holiday season – from shopping to family reunions – residents and local businesses are relying on delivery workers more than ever this year.
Like many companies, Leesburg furniture and homeware boutique 27 South is also offering online ordering at the start of the pandemic, said co-owner Carolyn McCarter.
“It was a big deal for us back then, and during that period we offered free delivery, which was difficult.” McCarter said. “I literally packed my car with all of these small deliveries in Northern Virginia. But I mean guys, right now they definitely want the luxury of having things sent home. “
For 27 South, business has been stable during the pandemic – it’s a good time to do a renovation while people are stuck at home. Now they work with Bungii – like Uber for delivery vans – and recently with Oscar Arevalo, who has just started his new company Now Movers.
“He’s kind of a rescue for us because it’s logistically difficult,” said McCarter. “And it helps with the fact that it has good prices.”
And they can trust Arevalo knows how to handle furniture and go to people’s homes.
Arevalo said it was one of the few furniture stores that he also supplies to in addition to moving. He said he was doing his best to make the customer happy and so far they were.
“I am satisfied with my job and I hope that I can continue to be busy in the future,” said Arevalo.
And in some parts of the city, delivery workers can be local heroes.
Eric Dunn, a delivery driver for UPS, has been on the same route around Belmont Greene in Ashburn for nearly 20 years. He’s seen newborn babies grow up on his route to become teenagers. He even moved into the area where he delivers.
And there he is a familiar face. He helped out at the local Pinewood Derby. He has played for two different faculty basketball teams at local elementary schools – where he delivers baskets while students sing “UPS!” And even with the miles he’s already covered, Dunn, who referred to himself as a “backwoodsman, country boy”, goes one step further with his deliveries.
For example, if he thinks he’s delivering a Christmas present, he tries not to alert the kids – “Before I take the package out of the car, I look at the windows to make sure they’re not peeking out because they’re looking at you Take a look, ”said Dunn.
And on the weekend his neighborhood surprised him with a parade and a shower full of presents.
“It was probably about 40 cars, 50 cars, they had signs and horns – it was overwhelming, man,” said Dunn. “It definitely touched me in the right place.”
That was organized by someone else who saw him go the extra mile, Bre Khanbalinov. She and her family only moved into the neighborhood a few months ago, and one day she was not home when Dunn came to ship a new iPhone. So Dunn called her to make sure it got to her.
When she shared this story with the neighborhood Facebook group, she said, “Everyone had a little story to tell.”
“When I started hearing all these stories and seeing how special he was, I thought maybe this could be something for him,” she said. She got the idea to do something for Dunn and it grew quickly – more than 120 people attended, she said, and also gave Dunn small gifts, gift cards and a cash gift for the holidays.
“I really hope that at work he gets credit for everything he has done,” said Khanbalinov.
Dunn also brought his young son Aiden with him.
“He saw how much love I got for the first time because he’s a little older now, and he saw it so he was impressed,” said Dunn. “He enjoyed it.”
Business delivery backups
For small businesses, the difficulty was more of getting new goods into the store.
“There is a global shortage of everything – including materials and shipping containers,” said McCarter. “So, things that come from overseas, there is a huge drop in price because there is just not enough space, because there is such a demand in the US.”
“Some of our goods come from overseas so there have been a lot of problems with customs and things are stuck in customs and they’re sitting in ports right now,” said Kim Hutchings, owner of Mises Guided Angels in Leesburg. “Mainly accessories and clothing that for some reason is not produced.”
Hutchings said it was better to support the small business than Amazon – “they don’t need it.”
“I would love if … you understood how badly these local businesses are in need, especially this year,” she said.
Like 27 South, Misguided Angels offers online shopping as well as private appointments and the spacious store on King Street.
Browse and order online at 27 South at27-South.com and at Misguided Angels atShopMisguidedAngels.com.