The family behind the Bashas' Supermarkets grocery chain is investing in artificial intelligence technology that could one day let shoppers buy groceries in the metaverse.
When Bashas’ was sold to Raley’s last year, brothers Preston, Dalton and Brandon Basha, along with their other two siblings, founded Tortuga Trading Co. The brothers’ company is now investing in Salt Lake City-based AI software development company Boom Interactive, according to an announcement Thursday.
Details of the investment were not disclosed.
“Boom Interactive’s technology is changing the way commercial developers construct and design their spaces and how brands display their goods,” said Brandon Basha in a statement. “We are honored to get our hands dirty to help this revolutionary platform blossom.”
Tortuga has committed to building out the retail version of Boom Interactive’s flagship product, Bubbles, called R3D, and will be offering the software to their portfolio of retail partners, said a press release.
According to the company's website, Bubbles can transform “any space from 2D to 3D in seconds.” Using image recognition technology, the AI platform "reads images of floor plans, line drawings, or sketches and generates real-time 3D designs," the company said.
The investment from the Bashas family has helped the technology grow, Timber Barker, CEO and founder of Boom Interactive, said in a statement.
“It wouldn’t have been possible to develop R3D so quickly if it wasn’t for the Bashas’ commitment and dedication to the technology and to the potential the software has in so many verticals, even beyond grocery and retail,” Barker said. “When I met the Basha family, they made me feel like the fifth brother, and it was then I knew that this partnership was going to be paramount to the success of our collective vision for Boom.”
There are exciting potential applications for the technology, Dalton Basha said in a statement.
“Eventually, Boom’s technology will be able to create AI experiences for shoppers, where they can shop from anywhere in the world through the metaverse,” Dalton Basha said.
The Basha brothers, whose family immigrated from Lebanon, founded Bashas’ Supermarkets, a regional grocer in Arizona and New Mexico.
“As an immigrant, our family was able to live the American dream over 90 years ago through the support of people who believed in them,” said Preston Basha in the release. “Today, we want to give back in the same way to others who are paving their way in uncharted territory.”
Raley’s Holding Company acquired Bashas’ Family of Stores in 2021. The acquisition merged Raley’s 124 Northern California and Nevada stores with Bashas’ more than 100 locations.
Bashas’ is now a division of The Raley’s Companies, which launched late last year after Raley’s Holding Company acquired Bashas’ Family of Stores. Bashas’ operates in Arizona, New Mexico and four tribal nations under five brands including: Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets. The company was founded in 1932, and has more than 100 grocery stores.