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By Donnabeth Leffler

To Your Door?

By Donnabeth Leffler Posted September 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      I’ve always heard/read the grocery business is a low margin business looking for high volume.  I’m not talking about organic meat or baby vegetables; I’m talking about what I call staples: those items we always have in the pantry.  
 
      Big rolls of big rolls of paper products get me driving north to Costco but it is a haul and not always terribly convenient.  But I find when I don’t buy non-perishables in bulk, I feel guilty about paying more.  Yes, I factor in the gas price but Costco not only sells gas (usually more cheaply than many other places), but also the longer amount of time I can go without a return trip.  
 
      Believe it or not, this column is not an ad for Costco.  I just came across a new buying option that is fighting for those dollars:  Amazon is selling subscriptions to  bulk sizes.  If you subscribe for regular delivery, prices are lower and shipping is frequently free.  No gas (for me), no errand= little time, and I don’t even think about running out.  
 
     I’m not sure I’ll do this and I don’t know why not.  Maybe its time has come and I’m just not an early adopter.  I’ll tell you what I would do, however.  I would sign up for a local entrepreneur who could match those prices and plan a regular delivery of the items I “subscribe to”.   
 
     I had this option when I lived in New York City many moons ago.  I didn’t use it because I didn’t have storage space for bulk items and I didn’t want other people selecting my perishables.  If I was going to shop for fruit, veg, meat and dairy, I might as well grab that pack of napkins along with it.  Now I live here and the model makes more sense to me here.  
 
      It’s the packaged goods version of a CSA, in a way, except it’s not seasonal nor is it anything close to fresh.  But it’s not supposed to be so does that make it an easier business?
 
      So, entrepreneurs and those in the making, how about it?  Is this a business that’s viable?  Shoppers, what about you?  I posted a few months ago about the never-ending grocery/errand runaround and many of you have mentioned it to me so it must have resonated.  
 
     Let me know what you think by commenting below or writing to me at Donnabeth@chapelboro.com.
 
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