July 30, 2012

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Local Online Grocery Store Aims to Change How People Buy Food

Di Lewis

July 30, 2012

When David Edwards was listening to the radio last year, he didn’t realize the story he heard was going to change his life.

The story was about people in a rural area struggling because there wasn’t a grocery store nearby, which got him thinking of areas in Utah where houses had been built so quickly and so far out that a grocery store was 30 minutes or more away.

That was when he began working on the concept for the recently launched GoFresh Grocery, which is both an online grocery store and grocery delivery service currently delivering to Salt Lake City, Murray, Holladay, North Salt Lake and Bountiful.

“I think grocery delivery in general is going to be a real game changer and within a few years people will be shopping online,” Edwards said.

While the radio story had been all about rural areas, Edwards realized there were plenty of people in urban and suburban areas looking for different ways to shop. What he hadn’t realized when he started planning GoFresh was that “grocery delivery is a historically difficult problem.”

For most deliveries, there are between one and five items being delivered, he said. Whether from Amazon or Pizza Hut, it’s a relatively small amount being delivered. With grocery there are tens of thousands of items a customer can choose from and you have to be able to accurately and efficiently get those items delivered.

“I had no idea what I was getting into when I started,” Edwards said. “And when I got into it and started exploring it more deeply, it’s such an interesting, complicated problem and it represents a fun challenge. There’s a never-ending stream of possible improvements.”

With a background in transportational logistics and supply-chain management, it was a puzzle he enjoyed solving.

The puzzle got a little easier with the addition of two partners: his father, also David Edwards, and Weston Winegar, CEO of Winegar’s Supermarkets. Edwards said he approached several stores looking for suppliers. Winegar was enthusiastic and supportive of the vision of fresh, convenient shopping, Edwards said.

“We shared a vision of how grocery delivery would change the face of the grocery industry,” Edwards said. Winegar brings knowledge of the grocery business, as well as space and infrastructure, to support GoFresh. While the deliveries are still in limited areas across the Wasatch Front, Edwards said he and Winegar see the business and concept expanding and changing the industry.

The reasons people will begin choosing delivery are convenience and freshness, he said. GoFresh gives people the chance to shop from their computer, have groceries brought to their house if they are ill or have a delivery come hours after getting home from a trip, he said. Edwards said delivery also gives people fresher produce, baked goods and deli products because things are baked or cut the morning of delivery and produce comes directly from wholesalers.

While people may still have an idea delivery is only for the wealthy or those who can’t leave their homes, Edwards thinks that perception will change as more people begin using it.

“Grocery delivery is for everybody. That’s something a lot of people don’t realize. It has benefits for old and young, rich and poor. It can be something that becomes more of a universal way of shopping rather than something for niche markets like it might be considered right now.”

For more information, visit www.gofreshgrocery.com.

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