Wharton graduate students Alexander Torrey and Byungwoo Ko expanded their eco-friendly delivery service, The Rounds, to Atlanta this May after starting their company three years ago in Philadelphia.
The Rounds is “a zero-waste refill and delivery service for the stuff you use every day" founded in 2019, according to its website. While attending graduate school at Wharton, Torrey and Ko started the company by reconciling the need for sustainable products and packaging in everyday household items. They supply household staples such as toilet paper, hand soap, and pet food directly from manufacturers in all of its locations. Each of the four locations also carry items from local businesses. For example, Philadelphians can order Merzbacher’s muffins, Bean 2 Bean Coffee, and Lost Bread Co. bread.
The company expanded to Washington D.C. last year, Miami in February of this year, and has now extended to Atlanta. It uses a milkman model of business; products go from point A to point B, and packaging is brought back to point A to be refilled. Infact, this “circular economy” inspired the company’s name. In an interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Torrey said this two-way supply chain will reduce waste.
“Modern consumers want sustainable alternatives. This idea that the idea of green is fringe is not true anymore at all,” Torrey said to the Daily Pennsylvanian. “Everybody's looking for sustainable alternatives. [Consumers] are just looking for them to be convenient.”
The Rounds' expansion to Atlanta is a part of the company’s initiative to expand to cities with different and unique markets that range from differing demographics, geographics, and building structures.
“We are intentionally going to markets that are as different from each other as possible to prove that our model, that our business, works really well everywhere,” Torrey said.
According to its website, the company is “zero waste” in that there is no wasteful packaging in the products that are delivered to the doorstep of customers who subscribe to their service. After using products from hand soap to hot sauce, customers are able to leave their empty containers on their doorstep for The Rounds employees to collect, typically on e-bike, and reuse in their fulfillment centers.
Torrey said that customers of The Rounds can expect more household items available in the near future, especially of products made-local to cities that the company is in. Meanwhile, The Rounds is looking to expand deeper in cities like Atlanta and around the country.
The Rounds delivery service is available for sign-up in parts of Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, and Atlanta.