Buddytruk, a startup on-demand moving service, turned to Whole Foods earlier this month to help it branch out.

The Santa Monica app maker, an Uber-like service that launched in August to offer Angelenos a way to find a “buddy with a truck” to help them move, partnered with Whole Foods to offer free deliveries for Christmas trees purchased at two of the grocer’s Westside spots.

“I knew Whole Foods was looking to deliver its trees and we wanted to do something for the holiday season,” said founder and Chief Executive Brian Foley, whose office is a block from the grocer’s Wilshire Boulevard store in Santa Monica.

Buddytruk ended up transporting about 30 of the 300 trees sold at the chain’s Santa Monica and Venice locations. Same-day tree deliveries took place within 50 miles of the two locations.

It was Buddytruk’s first business partnership with a company of this size, and with the Christmas trees sold out (Whole Foods will not be restocking) the deal has been expanded to include picking up large toys next week at Whole Foods stores and then delivering them to children at UCLA Medical Center.

In addition to doing some good, the service offers the fledging Buddytruk a way to make itself known. So far, there have been just 2,000 downloads of the mobile app.

The 25 drivers signed up for the service have helped 200 people move since launch. Moving rates depend on distance and time, with an hourlong move running between $40 and $60. Similar to Uber, Buddytruk takes 20 percent off each transaction while its drivers keep 80 percent.

Despite a modest launch, Foley remains confident that the business is evergreen, saying Buddytruk had more deliveries the first week of December, including the tree business, than it did all of last month.

And new opportunities are expected to come with the new year. Buddytruk wants to upshift its business and hook up with more partners that require oversized deliveries. Foley said that he can see his startup grow to take on multiple stores’ daily shipment needs.

“Other deliveries take three to five business days,” Foley said. “We can get it there within the hour.”

– Melissah Yang

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