Bethany Freudenthal

Through hard work and ingenuity, a La Grande man has built a successful courier and transport business with a fleet of vehicles, a dozen employees and daily routes throughout Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho.

From humble beginnings delivering food to local customers, Rob’s Speedy Delivery has seen growth each year since its inception in 2011 and has moved from the food delivery service to shipping business to couriering business freight and household items. The courier business is on pace to reach its 10-year goal of $1 million in gross revenue.

Owner Robert Dooley landed his first customer by asking his girlfriend to persuade her co-workers to order Chinese food from a local restaurant.

“I didn’t charge anything for the first two weeks (of business),” Dooley said.

A 1994 graduate of La Grande High School, Dooley moved to Arizona for several years where he was a pizza delivery man. He earned a degree in graphic design and an associate’s degree in accounting and eventually landed a job at a large oil company.

Several years later when the oil company announced it was going to relocate, Dooley decided to move back to La Grande and go back to school, where he earned a bachelor of art’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Oregon University.

“When I went to college, my full intention was to be a (certified public accountant),” Dooley said. “I wanted to go into accounting. I’ve always been good with numbers and managing.”

Now based in Pendleton in a 4,000 square-foot warehouse, Dooley has amassed a fleet of nine vehicles ranging from compact cars to a 24-foot box truck and has a dozen employees working for him.

“When I first started this company, I had one Toyota Prius,” Dooley said. “That was five years ago.”

Moving away from food delivery, the business now concentrates on transporting freight throughout the region and is focused on continual growth, with many of its clients coming from referrals.

“I’m hoping to maybe build a warehouse in La Grande, or maybe build a (second) warehouse in Pendleton so shippers can drop things off for other carriers to pick up. We’re kind of like the middle man,” Dooley said.

For Dooley, running the business hasn’t always been easy. There’s been a learning curve. His business was recently grounded for several weeks because Dooley didn’t know they were supposed to have a motor carrier number.

“But we made it through,” Dooley said.

Dooley said the only reason he is successful is because he has a great crew working for him and they all work together.

“It’s never a dull moment,” Dooley said. “I’m always on the go. I’m always on call, answering phone calls from clients or drivers. There’s always some kind of issues with a delivery or weather. There (are) vehicle
issues, maybe there’s add-ons or clients requesting for quotes.”

With hard work, Dooley said anything is possible.

“As long as you dedicate yourself to it, if you’re willing to go the extra mile for your customers — you just have to be dedicated and willing to do whatever is needed to fill the need.”