PenguinPickUp Partners with Electric Bike Delivery Company as Ecommerce Explodes During the Pandemic

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PenguinPickUp, a growing network of convenient “one-stop pick-up” for all ecommerce purchases including groceries as well as outbound courier services from its courier company partners, is partnering with URB-E for a new electric bike delivery project offering 95 per cent less carbon emissions and a six times lower traffic footprint for Downtown Toronto.

Patrick Jobidon
Patrick Jobidon

PenguinPickUp2You is a last-mile delivery solution using electric bikes with trailers.

“As online deliveries continue to increase, we need to seriously consider our social responsibility to our customers and communities,” said Patrick Jobidon, president of PenguinPickUp. “We hope to provide a safer and cleaner alternative for everyone involved in our business.

“We offer a different solution and we want to be more green for a number of reasons. First, nobody likes to see a lot of traffic in our neighbourhoods where our kids are growing. We’re trying to keep those neighbourhoods as safe as possible. Also, a lot of our customers are looking for a green solution.

Image: PenguinPickUp

“The ebike is allowing us to service the square that is Don Valley, 401 and 427 and the Gardiner. That’s pretty much the neighbourhood we are servicing with the ebikes.”

Charles Jolley
Charles Jolley

Customers can arrange for delivery service during a two-hour window of their choosing. The service will be available during peak hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with plans to expand hours of operation to include an 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. window. For a flat rate of $5, customers can have parcels from multiple retailers delivered at one time.

“Canada is leading the way in adopting sustainable, city-friendly delivery solutions to replace gas powered vans and trucks, and PenguinPickUp embraces this responsible mindset,” said Charles Jolley, CEO of URB-E. “PenguinPickUp is already one of the most innovative delivery providers with their store locations close to where people live. We think they’re the perfect partner to introduce low-emission, safe, and friendly URB-E delivery vehicles to the Canadian market.”

The ebike is designed by a former Porsche and Fisker engineer and can haul about 800 pounds or 400 kilograms of cargo and can easily roll on and off.

Image: PenguinPickUp

Initially, the PenguinPickUp locations at 171 East Liberty Street, 68 Abell St, 609 Church St, 415 Church St, 629 Eastern Ave and 53 Yonge St will offer the PenguinPickUp2U service to customers within a three-kilometre radius of the stores. These locations were chosen because of the advanced network of dedicated bike lanes, allowing for safe and fast delivery. URB-E’s folding electric vehicles and collapsible trailers are the best performing light delivery vehicles in the U.S. market, having major partnerships deployed in New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

“We want to expand on this service and hopefully across all of our stores that we have whether it’s in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver,” said Jobidon.

Penguin started seven years ago as an idea of Mitchell Goldhar, Executive Chairman of SmartCentres.

“He thought about having stores that could service customers to pick up their online orders. It started with a few containers we had set up on some of the commercial properties that Mitch owns in the suburbs in Toronto. We now have almost 30 stores in GTA and we have a few in Montreal and we’ll be opening very shortly in Vancouver. We keep on growing our network,” said Jobidon.

Image: PenguinPickUp

“It’s a service that combines very much a network of physical, dedicated pickup location and transport and sortation capabilities that provides that unique solution to tackle the last mile efficiencies. Ecommerce is growing and it’s growing rapidly. All the courier companies are loaded. They’re running at capacity and it’s just the beginning of it.”

Since its inception, PenguinPickUp has touched more than 275,000 customers with its unique idea.

Penguin works with all the main courier companies who use their locations for their own deliverables. Consumers can also pick up items at those locations.

This year Penguin has been home for more than 1.5 million packages.

Jobidon said most of the customers are within about a kilometre radius from the Penguin locations. Often, customers walk or cycle to get to the stores.

A number of large retailers are using Penguin to get their packages delivered to the end consumer. He said Penguin is working with more than 100 retailers now.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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