Ugo: The Next Big Idea in Tuscaloosa
What started out as a simple idea by four friends has quickly turned into a new cutting edge delivery service that is serving the University area.
By Matthew Corwin
Dateline Alabama Producer
Tuscaloosa, Ala—In an unassuming warehouse in an industrial section of Tuscaloosa the next big idea is taking shape. You wouldn’t know it from the outside though. There is no signage or big glass entrance. There is just a garage door with a little sticker on it bearing the company’s name. Ugo. What is Ugo exactly? The company, founded by four University of Alabama students, is the next big thing to happen to college campuses. Ugo is a online delivery convenience store. Their goal is to offer everything that a convenience store has without the hassle of going there. According to company co-founder Jay Newman, the idea came out of necessity.
“Will and I were relaxing in my room one night and when we wanted some candy but it was too late to go out and get some.” Newman said. “That when the idea came in my head. What if there was a late-night delivery service.”
Will Randle is a company co-founder and thought the idea had a chance. “Me and Jay always wanted to work together and run a company”. Randle said. “We had been reading a couple of books at the time and thought there is no better time than now to start something like this.”
Jay and Will recruited their friends Cole McGuire and Chris Keene into the mix and the four friends set about starting Ugo. They quickly made connections and sought advice from the University’s Crimson Edge program, a program that gives students the help needed to start a business. “We needed to make sure if we were going to do this, we were going to do it the right way.” McGuire said. “We needed to make sure are payments were going to be in order and that if there was a problem we knew how to deal with it.”
Since the idea first sprouted until the time of first delivery was about 37 weeks. That might seem like a short amount of time but when you see just what the four friends have accomplished in that time, it is quite astounding. Ugo now has a fully stocked warehouse and a fleet of drivers waiting to deliver food at a moment’s notice. Customers like Haley Dean see the benefits of using Ugo and has continued to use them.
“You don’t realize what a convenience it is until you try it for the first time.” Dean said. “I was in the middle of watching a marathon of movies and wanted some snacks but I didn’t want to leave my apartment.”
Ugo has since created its own app and is looking to expand to other colleges in the future.
“Tuscaloosa is a great place to start something like this.” Newman said. “Within a couple hours of driving we can pass five different schools. Our hope for the future is that we can expand to Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida.”
“Many freshman don’t have cars.” Randle added. “While the school does offer bus rides to Target and Dominoes does deliver, we look to fill that gap between the two, those times when you really wish you did have a car.”
An idea that started from wanting candy to what is now a full fledge delivery service, Ugo has growth a great deal over the past 11 months. Currently they are serving all of the university area and deal with the stresses that coming with running a business.
“We’ve learned so much through this process.” Newman said. “Anything is possible for the future.”
When asked what the biggest surprise since they started the business, Newman didn’t hesitate. “I was shocked how popular pizza rolls are.” So the next time you are looking for a late night snack and are out of food, Ugo is available at the click of a button. The company’s slogan really is true. “We go where Ugo”.