BY CARMEN SIERING
It might be getting more difficult to make your mark in the local grocery arena, but Bloomingfoods General Manager Tony Alongi says it isn’t impossible. That’s why the local co-op has introduced Bloomingfoods 2U, the city’s only grocery delivery service.
“We know the industry is going this direction, and we realized we were going to need to do it someday,” Alongi says. “We also realized we need to make a splash right now. So this seemed like the best way to do that, by providing a service there’s a demand for.”
Offering both pickup and delivery, Bloomingfoods 2U is an online service that allows customers to select from more than 1,700 items common to both the east and west Bloomingfoods locations. All departments of the store are represented, including perishable items like meat and dairy, bulk bin items (by the half-pound or pound), even beer and wine.
Sheryl Morse, special operations manager, says shoppers needn’t worry about the quality of the items they receive or that they will get items they didn’t ask for. “This is a very personal service,” she says. “We call the people who select the items ‘personal shoppers’ for a reason.” She notes the shoppers are trained on how to select produce and meat, and adds that if something happens to be out of stock, they will call and ask if there is a preferred substitute. “They won’t just put something in your cart without asking,” she says.
The driver, too, will be a Bloomingfoods employee, Alongi says. “We don’t want to use the pizza-delivery model,” he says. “Every time someone pulls up, it’s the same person, a Bloomingfoods person.”
Delivery hours are 1–7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers order online and pick a delivery time (within a two-hour window) for the next day. They can choose to have the driver leave the order at the door or have someone receive it.
If picking up their grocery order, customers select the store location, create their shopping list, and the items will be ready within one hour, Morse says.
Owner-members pay $2.50 for either pickup or delivery, while non-members pay $5 for pickup and $10 for delivery.
“Our goal is to offer a high-quality service, on time, within the window we promise,” Alongi says. “We want this to be a positive experience for our customers.”