Business is picking up… and dropping off Not only will Runnin’ Red grab your shipments from the U.S., it will deliver your parcels to the States using American shippers

St. Boniface is no place for a United States post office.

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St. Boniface is no place for a United States post office.

And yet, one warehouse is operating as such — and it’s touting shipping prices that are half those of Canada Post.

“As far as I know, we’re the first ones in Canada to do this,” said Trevor Froese, co-owner of Runnin’ Red, while sitting in the company’s 10,000 square foot facility at 615 Rue Camiel Sys St. on Tuesday where customers deliver their parcels, ready for shipment south of the border.

Trevor Froese, co-owner of Runnin’ Red, in the company’s 10,000 square foot St. Boniface facility. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Froese has seen Etsy artisans bring their products and snowbirds lug their suitcases. Manitobans can print their bags’ shipping labels at home through Runnin’ Red’s website, or at the warehouse.

“We’ll bring (the items) across the border for them,” Froese said.

Runnin’ Red began seven years ago as a parcel pick-up service, routinely visiting North Dakota to grab packages for Manitobans who couldn’t ship into Canada.

Business boomed during the pandemic as the Canada-U.S. border shut to non-essential travel. Runnin’ Red, which retrieves medical supplies from America, had clearance to cross the line.

The company regularly collected goods stuck in Pembina, N.D. for Manitobans and delivered them within the province.

“We (have) still managed to keep a lot of that business and clientele,” Froese said.

Simultaneously, Runnin’ Red drives Manitobans’ goods across the border, where the United States Postal Service (USPS) or United Parcel Service (UPS) take the shipments. Clients are often small business owners with American customers, Froese said.

“A lot of our clients that sell online, they… wanted us to buy shipping for them,” Froese said.

Their packages would be unlabelled. Runnin’ Red would purchase the needed shipping labels in America, Froese said.

“We figured it would be easier if we can just offer this service too,” he said.

The company inked contracts with the USPS and UPS to sell shipping labels. It gets a discount because of the volume of goods it ships, Froese added.

People who drop their goods at the warehouse before 10:30 a.m. will get same-day shipping to the U.S. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“Now we pass on that discount to everyday people. They don’t have to be a big business,” he said.

On Tuesday, a 10 pound parcel shipping from Winnipeg to Orlando, Fla. (at 10 x 10 x 5 inches) would cost roughly $20, as the cheapest option, according to Runnin’ Red’s online estimator. The package would be delivered in two to eight days through the USPS, the website said.

Canada Post’s rate estimator valued the same delivery at around $56, for the cheapest option, with a seven business day commute.

Canada Post didn’t respond to interview requests by print deadline.

“The domestic U.S. shipping is very cheap,” Froese noted.

People who drop their goods at the warehouse before 10:30 a.m. will get same-day shipping to the U.S. — trucks leave daily.

The business has been offering the service for two months.

“This was just a natural progression,” Froese said, adding business has slowed enough to expand services.

Still, upwards of 500 parcels might trade hands in the St. Boniface warehouse on any given day, according to Runnin’ Red dispatcher Sheldon Hyatt.

There are people bringing packages to ship, and others coming to pick up goods. Commercial clients use Runnin’ Red for prep work.

Trevor Froese, co-owner of Runnin’ Red, which could deal with upwards of 500 parcels a day. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

“We fill a pretty big hole,” Hyatt said. “I think at this date, with fuel costs and time, it’s more worth it to have someone else deal with your cross-border shipments than try to go and deal with it yourself.”

The significant jump in fuel costs has made operations tougher, Froese said. Manitoba’s average price for regular unleaded gas was $1.48 Tuesday, 17.5 cents more than the year prior, according to fuel tracker GasBuddy. At the beginning of December 2020, the average gas price was around 98 cents per litre.

“Volume is what’s saving us,” Hyatt said, noting the company has raised its fuel surcharges.

Brenda Ezinicki, a past customer of Runnin’ Red, said her experience with the company was different from other postal services. It might be because they’re local, she added.

“My experience with Trevor is really, really positive,” Ezinicki said. “I try to let many people know.”

The company delivers around Winnipeg, Steinbach, Morden and Winkler.

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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