In one day, Anchorage resident Gayle Quinn might make an order of organic beef at Natural Pantry, drop off a musical instrument for repair and purchase facial cleanser at Nordstrom.
That's because Quinn is the entrepreneur behind Errandipity, a local business that caters to fulfilling people's errands during the week.
I met with Quinn at Natural Pantry, a place where Quinn says the cashiers know her well. As we walked down an aisle, Quinn pointed out items that she purchases for one client, such as granola and organic sugar. During the summer, Quinn often makes her rounds at local farmers' markets for her clients' produce; she shops at grocery stores during the winter.
Prior to starting Errandipity, Quinn worked at an oncology office doing medical records. She said eventually, the office job became overwhelming.
In 2006, Quinn's sister-in-law mentioned the idea of an errands service, but it was Quinn who pursued the business venture.
Four years after Quinn and her husband came up with the name Errandipity, the list of errands Quinn has accomplished continues to grow. She's had ice skates sharpened for hockey practice, arranged for home repairs and purchased bulk items at Costco.
Fewer errands means more time for family
Quinn says she keeps track of receipts from using her business credit card and sends each client an invoice.
While Quinn's flat rate of $40 per hour (including auto expenses) may seem steep, she said that her service allows clients to spend more time with family and spend less time standing in line.
Let's face it. Errands can be tedious and time consuming. For those juggling a busy work schedule and a family life, errands can become overwhelming.
Errandipity allows clients to have more quality time and less stress, Quinn said.
Quinn expects that her growing customer base will be in the professional field, whether someone needs their dry cleaning dropped off or requires Quinn to stand in line at the DMV.
Professional errand-runner loves to lend a hand
Quinn, who describes herself as a helper, is also a mother of two.
One of Quinn's sons is at the University of Alaska Anchorage while the other attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Quinn said she experiences empty-nest syndrome but enjoys the flexibility of her professional and personal schedule.
Although Quinn is a mother, Errandipity has a clear policy that says Quinn will not run errands that involve the transportation of children.
When Quinn isn't managing errands for clients, she and her dog Daisy are volunteer pet partners in the mental health unit for teenagers at Providence Hospital.
No errand is too small or too complex
So far, Quinn's biggest challenge has been working with a client who remodeled their home and found that none of the new appliances worked. She had to act as communicator between the client and appliance repair person, which was not an easy feat for the client or Quinn, she said.
Quinn aims to bring Errandipity to a new level by meeting new clients. She's also hoping to gain a dedicated business parter in the process.
When I asked Quinn about her future plans for Errandipity, Quinn said she would love to find Errandipity volunteers for the elderly. Right now, Quinn does not have the manpower or funds to support volunteer-run services, but she's optimistic that her business will continue to expand and present new opportunities to lend a hand.
"What excites me the most about doing what I do is making life more easy for the other person. I'm happy about that," she said.
Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing