In German, the word ganzekaufer means “whole buyer,” so maybe this was a matter of destiny. Paltzonians – and those living within a dozen-mile radius of the town, including Highland and Gardiner – now have the option of getting their grocery-shopping done and delivered by an enterprising young entrepreneur named Caden Ganzekaufer. His new business is called Caden’s Delivery, powered by Dumpling. He specializes in visiting more than one store per expedition if you need a greater variety of products than a supermarket carries.
“Whether your order is standard or customized, I am efficient, thoughtful, communicative and prompt,” he says on his blurb on the Dumpling app. “I pick the furthest expiration date on dairy, meat and bread products, and always choose the freshest produce available. Whatever your grocery needs, I go that extra mile!”
A Long Island native with a degree in political science, Caden was lured away from an early career as a financial advisor downstate when he got hooked on skydiving. That’s what first brought him to the New Paltz area.
“I found Skydive the Ranch, and I spent about a year doing the weekend warrior thing,” he says. ”Then I moved here with just my savings and got a job at a deli. I was working twelve hours a day, going skydiving at sunset and feeling really happy with that.”
When a bad landing dislocated his shoulder, Caden’s career path forked again. “I couldn’t work at the deli with my arm in a sling,” he recalls. Like many of us during the current pandemic, he began working remotely. His mother runs an online coaching service, teaching business skills to creative entrepreneurs, primarily interior designers. She offered to pay for some marketing courses if Caden would assist her for a few years. So that’s what he did, eventually going out on his own as a marketer.
A few months ago, Fortune’s wheel took another disruptive turn: the breakup of a long-term relationship, followed by a personal health crisis. When Covid 19 came to town, it was time once again to reinvent himself. And this time around, he found something he genuinely loves doing, to his own surprise: being a personal grocery shopper. “I really find great joy in it,” he says. “I enjoy waking up each day now.”
‘I’d kill for that!’
He tried working as an Instacart driver at first, discovering an affinity for the work but also some qualms about how the company operates. The structure, in which one Instacart employee places an online grocery order with a single store and then another acts as the driver, was too depersonalized for Caden’s tastes. Plus, he notes, the pricing structure is shrouded in mystery:
“The customer doesn’t see a physical store receipt,” he says. “They just add a fee to each item, but you can’t tell how much.” He began researching how to set up his own service, soon discovering Dumpling as the app that serves as the initial interface with the customer.
“I put up a post in the New Paltz [Community] Facebook group about a month ago, and it just started to generate interest,” Caden relates. Boy, did it ever: “Would you consider Trader Joe’s?” one reader asked almost immediately. “I’d kill for that!” responded another.
Caden’s Delivery made it happen: His first mission to the Scarsdale area, where there are three Trader Joe’s within a 15-minute drive of one another (in case he couldn’t find a particular desired item). That was last Thursday. “I shopped for four families – more than a thousand dollars’ worth of groceries!”
Most of his trips are more modest, with Tops Friendly Market, the Health & Nutrition Center and Wallkill View Farms among his daily destinations. He’s a proponent of shopping locally as much as possible, and “a huge fan of shopping at local farmers’ markets.” But would he consider a special trip down to some Manhattan foodie mecca such as Zabar’s or Fairway or Barney Greengrass the Sturgeon King? “If there’s enough interest,” he replies.
What makes Caden’s Delivery special is not so much that he makes coveted gourmet items available during lockdown, but rather the way in which he prioritizes relationship-building with his customers, so that he gets to know the “patterns” of what they want. While shopping, “I’m in constant communication,” he says, checking in with questions about whether a substitute is acceptable when a particular item or brand is unavailable. “I’ll get what the person is looking for, to the best of my ability.”
He recounts how one client was after chicken thighs, but they couldn’t be found for a couple of weeks running. And then, while he was shopping for a different customer, “Lo and behold, like a shine in the night, there they were: chicken thighs. I called her up immediately and asked, ‘Want me to grab three?’ She wasn’t home at the time, so she said just to stop by and leave them in the freezer.”
Dedication pays off
Building up this familiarity and trust factor counts for much of the satisfaction that he’s finding in his new Covid-era career. For those who are leery about potential contamination issues, he emphasizes his “really strict” protocols for cleanliness.
“I wear a mask every single time. I Clorox-wipe the cart and the inflatable bags that I use and each item. I use hand sanitizer in between touching things. I keep my car really clean, and Lysol the trunk between deliveries. I keep as tight a ship as possible.”
His dedication is paying off in the form of a rapidly growing and varied clientele. And every review on his app so far awards the business five stars. He’s counting on Caden’s Delivery having legs that last well beyond the day when we’re all out and about again, now that people are getting used to the idea of letting someone else be as picky about produce as they are: “I’m gonna be here for a long time doing this,” he says.
You can check out the process yourself at https://shop.dumpling.us/cadeng562?fbclid=IwAR1tMyTa19AHTalRS9lOhvsJQwXnNaU4U3P5I5DhWXQlIxjtpeIEaXEXrRI. There’s a base shopping and delivery fee of $15, plus 20 percent of the total order. Delivery typically occurs immediately after Caden’s shopping run is done, so the perishables are fresh and cold, but you can also arrange for a particular time when you’ll be home. Call 516-287-9783 with questions.