After a long day’s work as an audio engineer, Shawn M. Walsh met me at Grandchamps, a Haitian restaurant in Bed-Stuy.
She started her bicycle delivery service, Say Grace Delivery, about two weeks ago. Yet, her story of delivering Christmas trees to people’s doorsteps already had begun to catch people’s attention. At the moment, Say Grace is a hyperlocal business, operating only in Bed-Stuy.
Walsh named the newly established business after an eleven-year-old street cat named Grace, whom almost everyone on the block seems to know and care for. When Walsh took in the cat to live with her, people started asking, “Where is Grace?” The idea of people caring for each other partly came from Grace and the ones who care for her, she said.
The Christmas trees are a lot of fun to deliver, she said, especially when kids look out of their windows and squeal with excitement, “It’s coming!”
Walsh, a long-time patron of Seasons Garden Center, a Bed-Stuy plant nursery, said after hearing the nursery’s owner Deborah complain about how slow the trucks were in delivering Christmas trees, she offered to deliver some of the trees herself, by bicycle.
To make it work, Walsh ties the trees on the trailer with bungee chords, which saves time in the loading and unloading process, thus speeding her overall delivery time. Now that she’s gotten the tree delivery down to a “science,” she’s considering starting a shopping delivery service for seniors.
Walsh still continues her work as an audio engineer. But she’s enjoying the extra time she spends pedaling around Bed-Stuy, delivering local goods to her neighbors. She views Say Grace Delivery as a way to boost local businesses in a digital age of big chain monopolies and where technology quickly is replacing the human touch.
With her cat Grace by her side as inspiration, and her bicycle in tow, Walsh says she simply wants to help others, consume less fossil fuel and “build a business that treats people fairly.”