"It worked, thank God," says Jamie Bennett.
He's talking about his company's do-or-die reinvention over the past three weeks.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Snap Rentals chief executive and majority owner was staring into the face of oblivion.
With most travel halted, his company's 1000 rental cars were parked-up in depots in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. Some 30 staff had nothing to do.
Snap - which began sevenyears ago with a single Datsun Sunny, and has recently garnered attention for a focus on EVs that helped it ride a clean, green tourist wave - saw nearly all of its revenue disappear, almost overnight.
"The tourist trade dropped off a cliff, and cars were being returned en masse. Every ten minutes you would see a huge amount of bookings drop off."
Bennett figured some degree of domestic lockdown would last for months.
"And the Prime Minister has talked about tighter border controls for up 12 to 18 months.
"We had to pivot fast to stay afloat," Bennett says.
He and co-founder (and co-owner) Patrick Broadbent were in dire straits. But they could also see a problem immediately emerging as the lockdown hit: overloaded grocery delivery services, and people stuck in long queues to enter stores.
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The pair already had a logistics system, vehicles and labour. But they still had to get a software system together, and find anchor clients.
They pedalled fast, and it worked. Over the Easter long weekend, the pair soft-launched Snap Delivery, with wholesaler Gilmours and upmarket grocery chain Farro Fresh as its anchor clients.
Today, the Herald - finally responding to a pitch from Bennett a fortnight ago - checked in to see how things were going.
A jubilant Bennett was blown away, saying he now had plans to more than triple Snap's workforce to 100 over the coming months. Having initially been keen on coverage, like any startup, he now politely inquired if the Herald could hold off, lest Snap Delivery get swamped (the Herald decided the nation's need for a good news story over-rode his concern).
Snap's personal shopper service promises next-day delivery for $19.99 or a sub-four-hour service for $29.99.
Customers make a shopping list and book a delivery via Snap Delivery's website.
Delivery drivers are following strict distancing and disinfecting protocols (and if you've been to Farro during the lockdown you'll know it has perhaps the most front-foot procedures of any retail operator, including a requirement for every customer to don supplied disposable gloves before entering the store).
The lockdown won't last forever, but Bennett says "it's permanently changed our shopping mentality."
He says Snap's grocery delivery business will continue after things normalise, running in tandem with its car rental business once that emerges from its Level 4 hibernation.
Competition could be on the horizon.
Countdown has just closed a sixth store to foot traffic and converted it to an an online-only store in a bid to tackle its delivery backlogue.
Rideshare outfit Ola has pivoted to parcel delivery.
And in February, Uber raised the possibility that a US pilot, which sees Uber Eats drivers delivering groceries, may expand to New Zealand.
But there was no timeline. And, today, an Uber spokesman confirmed that Uber Eats service remains suspended, in keeping with the level 4 lockdown ban on takeaways and their delivery.
Bennett, meanwhile, says Snap is on the hunt for more clients to join Gilmours and Farro.