Brad Hagfors packages an order at his warehouse in St. Cloud, Minnesota. 
Brad Hagfors packages an order at his warehouse in St. Cloud, Minnesota. PHOTO BY JENNIFER COYNE
    ST. CLOUD, Minn. – In a world driven by technology, convenience and instant satisfaction, Brad Hagfors is hoping to make dairy’s mark on this new era of consumers.
    “I’ve been called the Amazon of dairy and that’s really resonated with people,” Hagfors said. “I’m providing an old fashioned service in a modern way.”
    Hagfors is the owner of Dairy2U, a dairy foods delivery service based in St. Cloud, Minn. The business caters to households in the surrounding communities of Sartell, Minn., St. Joseph, Minn., and Sauk Rapids, Minn.
    The entrepreneur works in partnership with local dairy farmer Grant Schoenberg and his Stony Creek Dairy, of Melrose, Minn., in Stearns County.
    Customers order online what dairy products they would like delivered to their homes – fluid milk varieties, heavy cream and butter. Customers may also order kitchen staples, such as locally sourced bread, eggs and pizza. Then, Hagfors receives the order and begins preparing it at his warehouse where it is later picked up for delivery.
    Hagfors works with Food Dudes Delivery and also oversees central Minnesota’s last milkman route.
    “I want to provide people with a service to get what they need whenever they need it without going to the store and filling their carts with everything else,” Hagfors said.
    The Minnetonka, Minn., native started his food delivery business in September after working with a business coach to develop a plan that would best meet his intentions and the needs of the surrounding communities.
    “We saw the time was now to do something like this,” Hagfors said. “This is an area where families are busy but still want to eat healthy.”
    When Hagfors was put in contact with Schoenberg, he knew the dairy farmer was the ideal partner in the business venture.
    “This is the heartland of America and the heart of America’s farmers,” said Hagfors of central Minnesota. “I have such a passion for helping small businesses and encouraging people to shop local. With this business model, we could help a small farmer get back into the mainstream of consumers, and it’s a win-win for everyone.”
    The delivery business is centered on providing a product and service unlike any other retail store.
    “I’m not here to compete with the Coborn’s or Walmart stores,” Hagfors said. “Stony Creek has created a niche market with their product, and we’re here to work with that niche and expand it to a new area.”
    With the traditional milkman route, Hagfors is working with the former deliveryman’s customer base, trying to meet their expectations while also setting himself a part from the previous business owner.
    The entire venture has been a new experience. Although Hagfors has spent much of his life in business development and marketing, doing so in the food industry is a craft he is learning first hand.
    “This has been a beautiful way to learn, but it’s kind of a bugaboo,” Hagfors said. “There’s nothing to go by, no model to follow. I’m blazing a trail.”
    As a start-up business, there are many unknowns Hagfors is working through.
    He is fine-tuning product delivery with Schoenberg as the customer base is further established.
    Aside from working with perishable foods, Hagfors’s biggest challenge is adjusting to the technology, which is the center point of his delivery service. Currently, customers are encouraged to order from the company’s website. Hagfors is developing a mobile app for ease of use and convenience, and also a subscription platform where customers could customize their orders repeatedly.
    “My forte is marketing and networking, but with today’s technology, it’s a whole different market of giving people exactly what they need,” Hagfors said. “I do believe it’s the future, and I can do it.”
    Since September, Hagfors has retained several customers and hopes to grow his following as the concept of home delivery is reintroduced in the communities.
    “It’s honestly been slower than I was hoping for,” Hagfors said. “It looked good on paper and makes sense, but you can’t make people buy things. I am very optimistic, though.”
    With the holidays approaching, Hagfors plans to develop a promotion for his business – one that will help establish Dairy2U in the area communities and provide another outlet for Schoenberg’s niche dairy enterprise.
    “I grew up by dairy farms, and I have a heart for farmers,” Hagfors said. “With Dairy2U, I’m literally helping farmers succeed by getting their product into the hands of consumers. They won’t have to compete with big stores. They can provide local.”
    In the long run, as the dairy industry sees its own changes, Hagfors is hopeful he can be a part of that change for the better.