• William Karspeck is the mayor of Berthoud, Colorado, a town of about 12,000 people.
  • He only makes an annual income of $6,000 as mayor so he was looking for other sources of income.
  • When the pandemic hit, and with few food delivery options in town, he had an idea.

William Karspeck spends a few hours every day in city council meetings and prepping for public speeches. Around lunch time, his phone buzzes. He’s called to fulfill a new food order for a local customer, and he promptly drops what he’s doing and heads out the door.

Karspeck, 35, is the mayor of Berthoud, a Colorado town of about 12,000 residents. He also happens to be one of the only food delivery couriers in town. For a a six-dollar delivery fee on an app he created, the mayor will hand deliver your food. 

In March 2020, Karspeck created his own app called Berthoud Marketplace to offer food delivery to locals when the pandemic hit. Berthoud is not necessarily a food desert, but many mom-and-pop restaurants couldn’t afford to partner with apps like DoorDash or GrubHub, which can charge these restaurants up to a 30% commission fee. (GrubHub currently only offers deliveries of its own branded convenience store products to Berthoud and neighboring towns.)

Karspeck saw a need, and decided to take this industry on himself. 

How a mayor became the town’s premiere food courier 

“This is my only other source of income,” Karspeck told Insider. “I haven’t taken a single day off since I started.” As mayor, he makes $6,000 a year.

When he left his previous career in HR and became mayor of Berthoud, where he was born and raised, he was looking for supplemental income. He knew there was a market for food delivery that national corporations couldn’t meet, or simply didn’t prioritize. So he took it upon himself to research app developers, who helped him create a basic platform that allowed residents to submit food orders from three local restaurants and coffee shops that he got on board. He’s since gotten ten businesses onto the app.

He pays a third party app-making company a subscription of $120 a month to keep his app running. He doesn’t charge a commission from any of the local restaurants he works with, but he charges customers a flat $6 delivery fee and an 8% processing fee.

“I’d love to say it’s been a fairy tale ever since, but just like any small business, there’s tons of hiccups,” Karspeck said. He said the rudimentary app is often glitchy, and he doesn’t have a tech background to resolve these issues. Oftentimes, if a customer’s order doesn’t go through or there’s an issue with it, Karspeck will have to call the restaurant himself to re-place the order. 

“I am a terrible businessperson,” Karspeck said. “It’s fun as heck, but it’s also scary and challenging. To afford a better app means a significant increase in investment, and that I just can’t afford right now. So I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to upgrade it, but bottom line, it works.”

Karspeck has made over 2,500 deliveries around town since 2020, and has recruited the part-time help of another local business owner to drive deliveries during particularly busy hours, like Friday or Saturday nights. But, for the the most part, if anyone in the region wants food delivered, it’s the mayor running it himself.

Karspeck wants to scale, but knows he can’t directly compete with big national apps

Screenshot of Berthoud Marketplace website


Berthoud is a 50-minute drive north of Denver, which has ranked in the top ten of cities where people flocked to during the pandemic. As a result, Karspeck has seen an unexpected and fast population growth over the years (in the last ten years Berthoud has doubled in size, from 5,100 in the 2010s to over 10,000 in 2020). Many remote-friendly towns, also known as “Zoomtowns,” have seen population surge during the pandemic.

The mayor said he’s aware his limited business and tech background means he could be easily beaten out by national delivery companies if they wanted to invest in rural American towns. But that’s also not his main goal. He wants locals to know he has their best interest in mind.

Recently, he’s been working with a woman who grows local produce just outside of town to help deliver her homegrown food to Berthoud residents.

“It’s not really keeping up with the GrubHubs and Doordashes — I know I can’t do that, I don’t have the money,” Karspeck said. “What I can do is try to keep things local as much as possible. The idea of you could grow something in native soil, not treated with chemicals, and have it brought to you incredibly fresh for the price that we can do it at. That excites me.”

“There was an ego thing in the beginning because never in my life would I think I would be carrying a delivery bag, but it’s work,” Karspeck added. “There’s a community here.”