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Errand Girl goes the distance – like hundreds of miles – to deliver your package (or mother)

Ignacio business involves a car, canine sidekick and an adventurous driver
Ignacio resident and Errand Girl owner Julie Eisenmann is ready to run errands, even if that means taking something all the way to Billings, Montana. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Julie Eisenmann’s will be the first to tell you her life has been a series of chaotic adventures and misadventures, and she has been told several times to document everything in an autobiography.

“I’ve had so many friends tell me to write everything down and publish a book,” Eisenmann said. “I don’t know. There’s an awful lot to cover.”

Eisenmann started out as a big city girl in Chicago, Illinois, before making her way out west to Ignacio in the early 2000s, where she purchased a ranch.

“It’s more like a ranchette,” Eisenmann said with a chuckle. “I bought it on Dec. 21. It was an early Christmas present for myself.”

Eisenmann began working as an associate RORO (roll on-roll off) route carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Durango.

“I really enjoyed delivering the mail,” she said.

While working for the Postal Service, Eisenmann took notice of the business her friend, John Grey, was running in Durango: Aaron’s Errands. Grey had found success running around Durango, bringing items from one place to the other for businesses and residents. Eisenmann realized she could do the same thing but for areas outside Durango.

“I patterned my business off of his,” she said. “He was doing Durango, and I did the outside communities.”

Also taking a cue from her friend, Eisenmann decided to call her business the similarly titled: “Errand Girl.”

“I know it’s not quite accurate,” she laughs. “I’m definitely not a girl. It sounds like a superhero name, doesn’t it? I think a lot of people assume I’m going to show up wearing a cape!”

Eisenmann and Grey had a lot of success working inside and outside Durango for a while, until the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down in 2020. The two friends assumed their businesses would boom now that most residents were stuck at home, but they soon found that was not the case.

“We both went dead during the pandemic,” Eisenmann said. “We thought we were going to be crazy busy. We thought we would be considered essential services. My regulars weren’t even calling me. We were dead in the water.”

Julie Eisenmann, owner of Errand Girl delivery service, gets sent all over to deliver an assortment of items, including a screw that was needed for a medical surgery in Utah. “They just handed it to me. It was so weird. I ended up just putting it in my pocket.” (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Financially strapped, Eisenmann decided to start driving for Uber to stay afloat.

“There’s a million wild stories about the people you pick up when you’re Ubering,” she said. “Picking up people from the airport can be highly entertaining.”

Eisenmann recounts one story in which a famous celebrity – who she declines to name – called her to pick up her elderly mother from the Durango airport and drive her to the celebrity’s house in Telluride. There was a treacherous snowstorm in progress over the Southwest Colorado, and the mother was trapped at the airport with no way of getting to the mountain town.

“They promised to tip me a lot of money, which a lot of people promise,” Eisenmann said, “but I felt badly that the mother was stuck, so I picked her up in my jeep and drove her very slowly through Dolores and up to Telluride. It was dark out, and the roads were awful. I talked to her the whole way there because I knew she had a lot of anxiety.”

Eisenmann said it took several hours before the pair finally made it to their destination in the early morning.

“The celebrity ran out of her house through several feet of snow when we arrived,” Eisenmann said. “She was so grateful. She kept putting one-hundred dollar bills in my hand.”

Eisenmann recalls another instance while working for Uber, in which a young woman jumped into her car one night on Main Avenue in Durango, when she was waiting for another passenger.

“I told her, ‘I’m not here for you,’” she said. “I said I was there to pick up another passenger.”

Eisenmann said the young woman had a frightened expression on her face and refused to move.

“She told me that her abusive ex (who) she had a restraining order against was chasing her down the street, and she needed help,” Eisenmann said.

Always one to choose compassion over monetary gain, Eisenmann decided to help the distraught woman instead of waiting for her customer.

“I told her to get her feet in the car and close the door,” she said. “I canceled the ride (with the customer) and took her to her house. I also told her to text me his picture, and if I see him around town, I’ll call the cops for her.”

Eisenmann’s desire to help people has often spilled over into her Errand Girl business, which she kept alive during the pandemic and is now running at full force, keeping her prices reasonable and affordable for her more cash-strapped clients. Though she operates in and around the Durango area, she has never turned down requests to deliver or pick up items from distant areas, even in other states.

“I once picked up someone’s keys in Pagosa Springs and brought them to a resort up there where they were staying,” she said. “I once went up to Denver and delivered barrels of hay to Boulder. Thankfully, I can pull about 5,500 pounds with my vehicle.”

Eisenmann’s motley group of clients have also sent her on treks to New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and even Billings, Montana, where she proudly said she made it to her destination by six o’clock in the morning, having driven the entire night.

“I was thinking about going to Yellowstone while I was up there,” she joked. “It was right there.”

Most of Eisenmann’s interstate deliveries come from businesses and corporations, something that has surprised her over the years.

“I thought I would be picking up prescriptions for little old ladies when I started this job,” she said.

One of her biggest clients are medical supply companies, which led her to the most unusual item she has ever been asked to deliver.

“I went to Mercy Hospital, and they told me to deliver a screw to San Juan Hospital in Monticello, Utah,” she said. “It was a screw for some surgery they were going to perform at San Juan. They just handed it to me. It was so weird. I ended up putting it in my pocket.”

Outside of delivering strange items for businesses and civilians, Eisenmann is also being asked to check on homes for customers, either for weather reasons or teenager reasons.

“People who go out of town for winter, and I go check on their houses,” she said. “I take pictures of what their house looks like and check on plumbing. Sometimes I check on elderly people for their families. Sometimes, I check on houses if the parents are out of town and their kids are at home. You know, to make sure they’re not having a party.”

Grace, Errand Girl’s canine employee, accompanies Julie Eisenmann on all of her adventures. “She’s the welcome committee!” Eisenmann said. (Courtesy of Julie Eisenmann)

Always by her side, no matter where she is going or what she is picking up, is Eisenmann’s faithful dog, Grace, a pit bull boxer mix.

“People ask if she’s my guard dog,” she said. “I tell them, ‘No. She’s the welcome committee!’”

Besides being a companion to Eisenmann, whether making deliveries for Errand Girl and picking up passengers for Uber, Grace seems to have developed the same sense of compassion as her owner for those clients who need a little extra tender loving care.

“She’s a therapy dog,” Eisenmann said. “She sits next to people when she knows they’re not doing well. She put her head on the lap of this man I had picked up from the airport, and it turned out his mother had just passed away.”

Whatever the reason, Eisenmann and Grace are always willing to help, no matter how strange the request.

“People always ask me, ‘Can you do this?’ and I always tell them, ‘Well, I do now!’”

molsen@durangoherald.com

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