Grocery delivery service comes to U

Riverbend Commons residents are now able to have their groceries delivered.

Neil Munshi

University students in Riverbend Commons got their grocery bags filled for the first time by the delivery service SimonDelivers on Wednesday.

The service allows customers to order groceries online or over the phone and have the items delivered to their homes.

Seventeen students used the pilot program Wednesday, said Lisa Schulte, the assistant director of Housing and Residential Life.

The program might extend to the other University apartment buildings, depending on use, but probably not residence halls because they have dining services at their disposal, Schulte said.

The service charges $5 per delivery no matter how much students order, she said.

First-year Spanish student William Moody said he ordered approximately $50’s worth of groceries Wednesday, and while it was a little more expensive, the convenience made it worthwhile.

He said he received coupons for $10 off his first three orders, which will help balance the costs of using the service.

Matthew C. Anderson, an entrepreneurial studies senior and community adviser at Riverbend Commons, said that he has been pushing for the service to be available since he moved in three years ago.

“The driving force for me was that I don’t have a car, but I live in Riverbend and need to get groceries,” he said.

Anderson said that he missed the deadline for this week’s order but plans on using the service in the future.

As an early advocate, Anderson said, he was pleased with the service’s first day on the job, but a few kinks exist. He said the process is more involved than he anticipated. For example, it took almost two hours for apartment staff and the delivery driver to unload the truck.

Kayte Gannon, Riverbend Commons apartment coordinator, said she helped unload the bins from the delivery truck and sees the service as worthwhile.

She said she understands students need to be able to get groceries and many are unable to.

“We don’t have a dining center, and most residents don’t order meal plans. And a lot of students don’t have cars, so their options are very limited,” she said.

Gannon said Riverbend Commons’ delivery day is Wednesday; groceries are available for pick-up from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

SimonDelivers began serving the Twin Cities in 1999, sales representative Dan LaVigne said.

The company approached Riverbend Commons officials about starting the program after a few students showed interest in a company survey, he said.

“As far as the Twin Cities, we’re the only strict online grocer. There are other grocery stores that offer the option to order online, but we’re the only Internet-based home grocery delivery company,” he said.

The service works with apartment management to designate an area where it can drop off the groceries for residents, he said. Door-to-door delivery would not work, from a logistical standpoint, he said.

SimonDelivers has an 8,000-item inventory at its warehouse in New Hope, Minn., LaVigne said. It makes approximately 12,000 orders a week to the seven-county greater metro area and has served more than 120,000 customers.