Local grocery store Bloomingfoods has spent the last two months preparing a their newest service for Bloomington.
The store started offering delivery and pick-up services for around 1700 of their grocery items, called Bloomingfoods 2 U, on Oct. 1.
General Manager Tony Alongi said the company is excited to be the first to start offering this service in Bloomington and it is hoping for success, but over one week after the delivery service went live, the business has still not received any orders as of Oct. 9.
The business invested thousand of dollars in this new service, including purchasing a new delivery car and hiring a company to create the online ordering system.
“We won’t lose any money if we do not have any online orders, but we did invest some money into this system though, and it’s not going away anytime soon,” Alongi said.
Although the service has yet to start delivering orders, Alongi said that it is OK that it has had a slow start because people do not know about this service, and Bloomingfoods is in the process of reaching their key demographics, college students in dorms and elderly people who have difficulty shopping.
“I know when I was in college I didn’t always feel like eating in the dining halls and my dorm room was full of unhealthy snacks,” Alongi said. “We want to give these students a chance to have access to these healthy options even when they don’t have a way of getting here.”
Summer Carmel has been a frequent shopper of Bloomingfoods for the past 15 years and drives over an hour to shop there. She said she prefers Bloomingfoods over any other grocery store because of their healthy and organic options she struggles to find elsewhere.
Carmel said she would use the delivery service if she could and that offering it is important for people who have difficulty shopping.
"This delivery service would be super helpful for people with medical conditions like me," Carmel said. "I suffer from Lyme disease and any chemical or perfume scents makes me have a seizure. It makes shopping hard, and I don't shop anywhere but here because of it."
Bloomingfoods is a co-op style business where anyone can pay $90 to become a member and then they will receive a discount and also get to vote on decisions the company makes.
Alongi said Bloomingfoods chose to start the delivery service because of the rapidly changing grocery industry. The delivery fee is $10 for nonmembers. Members that pay an annual $90 fee receive 10 percent off all orders and a $2.50 delivery fee.
“There’s a couple of reasons as to why we started this business and one is because it is something we thought our membership would like,” Alongi said. “We are a membership driven organization, and we like to put our money back into the community and to our members.”
Bloomingfoods is the only local grocer to offer delivery, according to a press release from the company. There are still several corporations that deliver to the Bloomington area that Bloomingfoods competes with.
Grocery delivery services are growing in the United States and many local grocery stores are offering these services, along with large corporations like Amazon and Wal-Mart. Amazon offers Prime Pantry, a grocery delivery service only available for Prime members and Wal-Mart offers the service for anyone with an account.
Alonsi said the slow start to the service is not ideal, but Bloomingfoods is hopeful orders will start coming in and this service will be helpful to the community.
“It has not been what we’ve hoped for this but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up,” Alongi said. “This isn’t going away anytime soon just because things have started slow.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Toni Alongi's name. The IDS regrets this error.
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