Think Bicycles Are Just for Fun? Think Again, Says SoupCycle

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Organic soup company "SoupCycle" delivers 50,000 soups by bicycle.

We're proving you can run a successful business solely using bicycle transport.

Portland, Oregon-based SoupCycle, an organic soup delivery service that serves its customers by bicycle, makes their 50,000th delivery this week. It’s a significant milestone for the four-year-old company, which has seen sales steadily climb despite the downturn in the economy.

“We’re proving that you can run a successful business solely using bicycle transport,” says Jed Lazar, founder and CEO of SoupCycle. “And if we can run a successful business hauling 200-pound bicycle trailers, then other folks can do it too.”

Lazar says Portland’s elaborate cycling infrastructure and open-minded bike-culture allow companies like his to compete with businesses using traditional forms of transportation to deliver goods and services. He’s found that bicycle-delivery has unexpected advantages over delivery trucks. “We don’t worry about fluctuating gas prices, which makes our expenses much more predictable. Plus, the eco-friendly focus of our company has attracted a lot of new customers,” Lazar says. Other Portland businesses have taken note and followed suite. In addition to SoupCycle, the city boasts fifteen companies that do business exclusively by bicycle, including plumbers, landscapers and house-cleaners.

But SoupCycle’s model is different from Portland’s other bicycle-services, and based on consistent customers and weekly deliveries. Customers sign up for a “Soupscription,” which includes a weekly delivery of organic soup, salad and rustic breads to their home or office. The pioneering bicycle-based business started with just seven customers, one bike and trailer, and Lazar making all the deliveries. The company has since grown to include about 600 weekly customers, including notable Portlanders such as Mayor Sam Adams. "Soup Cycle is a great local, organic, bicycle-based business and their soup fantastic," says Mayor Adams.

Chef Matthew Stupey ran his own restaurant before coming to SoupCycle to lead their soup making operations. He enjoys the attention to detail in each soup’s flavor. “We still make everything by hand. Artisan soups are what makes SoupCycle unique,” Stupey says. With Stupey’s help, SoupCycle’s soups have been featured in Food and Wine Magazine. “We’ve received national attention because of the flavor and the wide variety of our soups. We make traditional recipes like old fashioned Chicken and Rice, as well as more exotic flavors like our Cauliflower, Gorgonzola Cheese and Fuji Apple soup.”

Since its inception, SoupCycle’s mission has been to support local, organic farmers and use bicycles as its primary form of transportation. Over the last four years, the company has funneled $98,000 to local farms and biked more than 20,000 miles—eliminating approximately 18,000 pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

SoupCycle now employs seven delivery cyclists, and Lazar continues to make some deliveries himself. “I wouldn’t give up that part of the job,” he says. “ I love being on my bicycle—it’s an amazing way to run a business and connect with customers.”

SoupCycle will be celebrating their 50,000th delivery by giving away a free six-month Soupscription to the best new soup concept or recipe that is submitted to their website (http://www.soupcycle.com).

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Jed Lazar
jed@soupcycle.com
503-897-8464
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