New grocery delivery service comes to Charlottesville

Instacart offers access to groceries to students without cars

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The grocery delivery service Instacart comes to Charlottesville.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

Instacart, a one-hour grocery delivery service, expanded its services in August to encompass the Charlottesville area. As members of the Charlottesville community, students at the University will the opportunity to experience firsthand this new enterprise that has sparked interest all over the country.

Founded as a startup in 2012 by a former Amazon employee in California, Instacart has gradually increased its valuation. Customers use their iPhone or Android app to log onto their Instacart accounts and can select fresh produce or the most popular brand names. From there, Instacart employees, which are called “shoppers”, select the items from the store and deliver their products to the desired location within the customers’ designated time frame.

The stores currently available through Instacart’s services include Wegmans, Giant Food, Whole Foods Market, Costco, PetcoNow and CVS/Pharmacy.

Wegmans spokesperson Jo Natale addressed Wegman’s decision to offer their store to Instacart shoppers and customers, remarking the convenience it can afford students.

“We began launching Instacart out to a few of our stores several weeks ago, and we were so pleased with the results that slowly we’ve been adding new stores,” Natale said. “It’s been successful by every measure, and we’re getting great feedback from our customers, so we’re rolling it out to the Charlottesville area.”

Instacart Operations Manager Joyce Oh said it was a particularly opportune time for instacart to open in Charlottesville.

“We are super excited, as a few of our biggest retailers just opened up in Charlottesville,” Oh said.

Oh also related the venture to her own college days, noting how convenient it would have been to have groceries hand-delivered to her.

“I didn’t have a car when I was in college so I didn’t have access to a grocery store,” Natale said. “I think it’s a great resource for college students, one that I would have loved. We want to offer students availability.”

However, some students expressed skepticism about using the service.

“I don’t think I’d use the service because I like picking out my own groceries and shopping around to see what the grocery store has to offer,” second-year College student Ameen Al-Dalli said.

Nonetheless, Kristen Marion, whose firm Marion PR represents Instacart, seemed hopeful about Instacart’s future in Charlottesville.

“We are excited to share the word with the University of Virginia students — not only as potential customers but also future Instacart shoppers,” Marion said.

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