Retailers

By Invitation Only: Farmstead Plots Carolinas Invasion

Online grocer aims to use dark stores, technology to offer better prices and free delivery
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Online grocer Farmstead is beginning its cross-country expansion by way of an invitation-only offer for residents of Charlotte, N.C.

Founded in San Francisco and with ambitions to become a more national player in grocery behind dark stores and high technology, Farmstead is expanding to its first new market in a clicks-and-bricks partnership with Alex Lee, the parent of both distributor Merchants Distributors Inc. and the retail chain Lowes Foods.

The service, which Farmstead said would offer free delivery of groceries with lower prices than local stores, will go live in Charlotte next month. It began Oct. 16  soliciting a waitlist it said it would cap at to 1,000 customers.

“We are thrilled to make the Carolinas our first expansion market and bring Farmstead to the East Coast,” Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of Farmstead, said in a release. “Stay-at-home directives made it clear that online grocery should be a utility in this day and age—it should be cheaper and more convenient than going to the store with no fees, and the best local and national products delivered right to your doorstep.  We’re thrilled to be launching in the Queen City.”

In the Carolinas, Farmstead intends to open multiple dark stores, which it says will ease entry into new geographies, reduce food waste by three to four times and help eliminate food deserts by making fast, inexpensive delivery available to a wider area. “Most of all, they meet customers’ desire for perfect orders with no stockouts, delivered free, with no markups,” the company said in a release.

Farmstead said its customers can get high-quality local brands such as Cheerwine and Sundrop, national brands such as Kraft, Nabisco and fresh meats, dairy and produce.

Farmstead said its customer base has grown by double-digits, month over month, throughout 2020.

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