South Street Whole Foods shoppers, your convenience quotient just went up about five notches: Two weeks ago, the store (very quietly) started offering a free grocery-delivery service. All you have to do is hit a $30 minimum, which, let’s be serious, is very, very easy to do.
“We wanted expand our customer service and provide another way to get our customers what they need in an even more convenient way,” says the store’s marketing director Carolyn Reinhardt. The service was six months in the making and the South Street location is one of just a few in the country (and the only in our area) to offer it. It officially launched on February 11th.
Customers must first fill out some paperwork at the store, authorizing employees to take your orders over the phone. After that, you can either email or phone your orders in, shopping for up to four-grocery-bags worth of food. You can be as specific (i.e. Silk vanilla soy milk) or as general (i.e. soy milk) as you want. If you don’t specify, your personal shopper will default to Whole Foods’s 365 store brand. The shopper will call you to go over your order once he or she is done gathering the goods. If something you want is out of stock, they’ll pull substitutes, which you may turn down if you wish. From the time of the phone call, you can usually expect your order at your doorstep within the hour.
The delivery itself is done via bicycle. The store had a bike custom-outfitted with platforms that can hold up to four bags (which is why there’s a bag limit). Delivery is offered anywhere between Front and 20th streets and Arch and Tasker. The couriers completed a bike safety course through the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
If Whole Foods’ prepared meals are more your jam, you can get those delivered, too. There’s a special Express Menu (PDF) that includes house-smoked ribs, chicken and pork, as well as taqueria items, salads, pasta and more. The same deal applies: You must first go to the store to fill out some paperwork, and then orders can be placed remotely from there. Note that Express Menu orders must be placed over the phone, and the $30 minimum must be met (so you’d better go in on it with some coworkers). The one-hour delivery window also stands.
Delivery orders may contain groceries, prepared foods, or a mix of both, so long as you don’t go over the four bag limit.