It’s late at night, and you’re too drunk to walk to 7-Eleven for a bag of cheese puffs. Who do you call for help?
Have you ever been at a bar in the wee hours of the night, hungry and inebriated, ardently wishing that some modern-day Hermes on a fixed-gear bike would magically appear with a bounty of tacos, unfiltered cranberry juice and a monkey wrench? While Reno may be a 24-hour town, late-night snacks are sometimes few and far between. Thanks to a new service, you no longer have to leave the party for food and supplies.
J Broski’s Delivery Service is a creative response to mankind’s endless, often random midnight cravings. Nate Laird is the gregarious one-man show behind this business—delivering essentially anything that he can carry on his bike. His service, while new, has spread like wildfire via word of mouth. Police officers, college students and hungry bartenders keep him riding around town seven days a week ferrying “food, cigarettes, snacks or anything else you want in the greater Reno/downtown area.”
J Broski’s entered into my famished consciousness well after midnight while bartending at a local bar.
“I’m starving,” I told a friend. “Anything that sounds appetizing is closed, and I can’t exactly leave … what can I do?”
My friend pulled out his phone, smiled knowingly, and dialed. “Hello, Nate? We need two chicken quesadillas and four steak tacos from Jimboy’s. Ten minutes? Thanks!”
Sure enough, within minutes, a dark-eyed ambassador came rolling through the door, pushing his way through the crowd to the side of the bar. “Your tacos,” he said with feigned solemn ceremony. Thrilled, I handed him some cash and a Pabst.
“You saved me,” I told him. “Do you do this for a living?”Up, up and away!
Another evening, we agreed to meet at his home base, the Foxy Olive. When I arrived, he instructed the bartender to get me a drink, flashed me a smile and said, “I just got a delivery call. It’s close—Silver Peak. Be back in a minute.”
The bartender had scarcely put a drink in front of me when Laird returned, triumphantly holding a bag of pickle chips. Laird has only been in business for a few months, and he already has an emerging group of faithful followers.
“I order, he’s on the phone. I sneeze, and he’s here,” explained the bartender, Meghan, before she offered me a chip.
What makes Laird’s service so unique is that he provides “after-hours” delivery without using any gas—rain or shine.
He’s still in the process of securing a business license, so while there is no delivery fee, he works for tips.
“I pray for tips,” he says. “People are usually pretty generous. I’ve been stiffed a few times, I’ll get an order from a bar, I’ll arrive, and the person won’t be there … I cut my losses, like any business.”
The best tippers?
“Stoners—definitely the stoners. They’ll give me a 20 for $10 worth of food and say, ‘Aw, man, you saved me. Keep the change.’”
Therein rests the allure of J Broski’s—affordable, real service. Nate was looking for a job after being laid off. It occurred to him that he could make money doing what he already did … riding his bike and getting his friends food.To serve and protect
As fast as Laird whizzes through town, one would think that he has been a bike nut for years. After a car accident a few years ago, he became involved with the Reno Bike Project, which he credits for teaching him how to build and repair bikes. The first bike that he built was a 1968 Schwinn Continental, and the bike that he uses for deliveries is a modernized Raleigh Super Sport.
“It has a 1962 frame—everything else is from the last two years. I build bikes for people, too.” The idea to transport people, goods and services is as old as time, and Laird admiringly nods to preexisting services in town, like Bootleg Courier Company and the Rickshaw service run by Kyle Dale Spector, for whom Laird worked last summer. After studying the masters, he has found a new twist to the ancient art of supply and demand, and thus found his niche in accommodating the late night party crowd.
Laird is originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., although he moved to Reno more than a decade ago and is a North Valleys High School graduate. A self-starter, he delivers seven days a week.
“Oh … 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.! I’ll pretty much deliver anywhere … McCarran to Plumas, it depends on my mood.” He laughs and corrects himself, contorting his face into a pantomime of a resolute superhero. “Wherever duty calls!”
With the success of his enterprise, he has received numerous employment requests from his acquaintances, and also abundant advice to create routes and have others deliver for him.
“That’s the ultimate American dream, right? Build it yourself and set it up to where others do it for you. But then, it wouldn’t be J Broski’s. I like being that guy making the deliveries.”
He receives some strange requests. The strangest: “Condoms, Funyuns, one Swisher, a pack of Bubblicious, and …”—he laughs and breaks into a drunken falsetto—“a Mucho Mango Arizona tea and some beef jerky!”
The name J Broski’s comes from a nickname Laird earned as an intern at local radio station KRZQ. “They were trying to come up with the perfect ’80s name for me.”
An integral part of J Broski’s appeal is that it is completely run on the physical and mental drive of one young man. How young? Nate flashes a grin.
“Never let them know how old you are. Keep up the mystique! Some people think I’m a young entrepreneur. Others think I’m a guy who figured his shit out. I think it’s a little of both.”