KATs Delivery shows importance of small business during COVID-19 outbreak

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER –  Maurice Mercer started the on-demand food delivery service KATs Delivery in 2014 with a mission of providing an easier connection between Shelby County residents and the small businesses and restaurants. Now during the COVID-19 outbreak this connection is more important than ever.

“Before the outbreak delivery may have been the second or third option for most people when it came to food,” Mercer said. “Right now delivery is number one or two for most people as compared to take out or dining.”

Many restaurants are struggling during this time due to enhanced safety measures such as prohibiting dining in, to help stop the spread of the virus. This makes delivery more important than ever, as it is the only source of income for some businesses currently.

“It’s important that we not only think about the restaurant owners, but the servers,  the cooks and the drivers. We don’t want anybody to panic,” he said.  “If orders cease it may change these people’s livelihoods.”

Small businesses are likely to take some of the biggest financial hits during this epidemic and Mercer wanted to emphasize how important it is to support them.

“As we know spending our money locally means the dollars are more likely to stay in the community and that’s really what we want to drive home,” he explained. “That mom that is working by putting together food bags at the restaurant is then going to go buy gas, groceries and pay for daycare. Those dollars are going to stay in the community. Instead of going to someone’s corporate office in Seattle.”

Mercer also expressed that his business had made changes to make sure customers and couriers feel more comfortable about the exchanges. These changes include the diligent cleaning of delivery bags, keeping hand sanitizer on person, forgoing the need for signatures on orders and no-contact delivery to create more degrees of separation.

KATs delivery was the 2019 Shelby County Small Business of the Year. More information about their services can be found at katsdelivery.com