The post-pandemic world changed the way people shop, and that includes grocery, prompting new grocers to put the car before the cart.
Oklahoma-based JackBe, a curbside drive-thru grocer that opened earlier this year in suburban Oklahoma City, announced on Wednesday it has raised $11.5 million in capital to fast-track development and expansion of the business. The funding has come from various individual investors and strategic partners such as GP Investments, LLC, as well as a successful WeFunder crowd-funding campaign, JackBe said in a statement.
"We invested in JackBe because of the team's ambitious and innovative vision to transform the grocery shopping experience to convenience, simplicity and exemplary service,” said investors Michael and Charity Woodard in a statement. “It's a refreshing, new approach to grocery shopping for the working family to an elderly couple. We love the niche focus on expert customer service and think they will achieve an overwhelming response from lifetime shoppers."
The 17,000-square-foot store carries the most-frequently purchased products needed to restock the home.
“Clearly customers are finding the JackBe shopping experience to be positive and beneficial. In the first month since we’ve opened, 55% of the people who have come and tried our facility have come back for more than one order,” said JackBe CEO Alex Ruhter in a statement. “This is bucking the trend in the food delivery grocery industry, proving that people are looking for good e-grocery options and excited to make curbside pickup part of their grocery shopping plans.”
With JackBe, shoppers place an order on the grocer’s mobile app, drive to the location and have groceries delivered to their car in minutes with no membership or delivery fees added, the company said.
Looking to enhance grocery shopping without the cart, Ruhter said “with our seed funding and pre-series A funding, we've built and opened the first premier curbside drive-thru grocer in the U.S., to serve people in and around Oklahoma City. Our first store is paving the way to take our concept to suburbs nationwide. The investment validates our concept as well as our vision to foster a fundamental shift in the way people shop for groceries. We look forward to quickly expanding, offering individuals and families alike curbside grocery convenience without compromising on customer care, value nor quality."
As the future of grocery shopping continues to evolve, other drive-up grocers look to be pulling up as well in the grocery space.
Addie's, located in Norwood, Massachusetts, is another drive-thru grocery store that opened earlier this year.
The 22,000-square-foot store, which is open for pickup orders only, was founded by CEO Jim McQuade and CTO Jeremiah Strauss with $10.1 million in seed funding led by the Disruptive Innovation Fund, the venture capital arm of Clay Christensen's Rose Park Advisors.
E-commerce firm Mercatus predicts that online grocery shopping will double to more than $200 billion by 2026, with curbside pickup among the fastest-growing segments.