New courier company rises out of Greyhound shutdown

Former Greyhound delivery agents start new Okanagan-Thompson region business

For more than 35 years the DeMaere family’s livelihood revolved around the Greyhound bus service across Western Canada.

Dating back to Saskatchewan when their mom started working as a ticket agent at the bus depot in their hometown. Jason DeMaere saw his more than 20 year involvement with the company take him first to Manitoba and then to the Okanagan Thompson region where he operated the two largest independent Greyhound depots in Canada.

Greyhound managed the courier service and ticket agents for the depots in Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna, while his brother Rod did the same in West Kelowna.

DeMaere’s wife also worked at the Greyhound bus depot in Kamloops.

Then last fall, the DeMaeres were each given three months notice of Greyhound’s service being cancelled, leaving them all out of work.

RELATED: Former Greyhound staff start up parcel service in Salmon Arm

“It had an immediate impact as 100 per cent of our family income came from Greyhound. It was that simple,” DeMaere recalled.

“I had to decide what I wanted to do as I am 45 years old and had a few more years of work ahead of me.”

That decision was for DeMaere to start up their own courier service as he already owned the courier service vehicles used by the Greyhound courier service.

And they had the experience: DeMaere’s brother had worked for 32 years as a Greyhound agent while his wife Melissa had worked 11 years managing the freight room and delivery drivers within the Kamloops to West Kelowna corridor.

He created a new courier company, DD Express, with the business model to provide local courier service to clients between Revelstoke and Osoyoos, stepping into what is a very competitive industry.

DeMaere is trying to pick up the pieces following the Greyhound closure, as clients at that time were forced to look elsewhere for their package delivery needs.

RELATED: Fragmented bus service emerges

“It is a new start for us that is both exciting and scary at the same time. We had a successful courier agency operating through Greyhound and business was good. But what is exciting is now we have full control over the shipment process and price point,” DeMaere said.

“We have been doing this for 20 years now and we know what the customers want. The bigger outfits are getting bogged down by delivery demands for online shopping so we are looking to provide quality service to the smaller regional businesses the larger courier operators don’t have the time to deal with right now.

“We see that as a good niche for us to try to work ourselves into.”

RELATED: Greyhound ends service in B.C.

To help expand their reach, DeMaere has also struck up a working relationship with the Greyhound bus depot and courier service agents in Salmon Arm, Warren and Cheryl Keen, who also received their service termination notices and subsequently started their own local parcel delivery service.

“The idea is to work together to try and establish a network across the region rather than directly compete with one another,” DeMaere said.

DD Express currently has nine vans and one delivery truck with six employees, and will look to expand both those aspects of the business as revenues grow.

“We go as far north now as 100 Mile House but we would like to expand further to Prince George by the spring,” he said.



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Tribute to Kelowna’s Chinese Canadian pioneers planned

A tribute to Kelowna’s historic Chinese Canadian community got underway this weekend.

Pelicans spotted in Peachland

Four American white pelicans were caught on camera on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna’s MMA Red King ready to defend title

Rory MacDonald will defend his title in April 27 on international streaming service DAZN

Highway 97 crash slows traffic in Kelowna

A woman from one vehicle was treated by an ambulance on the scene.

Big Sugar headlines Gonzo Okanagan tournament and festival

The second annual event will take place June 14

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Netflix filming in North Okanagan

Multiple downtown locations and scenic areas to star in TV production

EDITORIAL: Time to end a pipeline feud

B.C. would not be the only one to lose if Jason Kenney makes good on his promise to turn off the tap

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Vernon mountain property owners launch fundraising campaign

Silver Star Association fighting high sewage rates; names committee to oversee campaign, funds

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Most Read