Technology

High-Tech Nourish + Bloom Market Opens Outside Atlanta

First location of Black-owned, autonomous grocery concept debuts in Fayetteville, Ga.
Nourish + Bloom exterior
Photograph courtesy of Nourish + Bloom

Nourish + Bloom, a new, automation-centric grocery concept, has opened the doors to its first location outside Atlanta.

Touting itself as the first Black-owned autonomous grocery store in the country, Nourish + Bloom offers checkout-free, scan-to-purchase shopping from an assortment of north of 1,500 SKUs—similar to the assortment size of "ghost grocer" microwarehouse concepts promising ultrafast delivery. The first Nourish + Bloom store, located at 300 Trilith Parkway in Fayetteville, Ga., operates out of 1,500 square feet of space and offers fresh produce, meat, dairy, prepared foods and baked goods, with an emphasis on locally sourced items to help reduce the store's carbon footprint. In addition, an in-store Bistro concept serves freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner items, including sandwiches, salads and rice bowls.

Customers enter the store at automated turnstiles by scanning a QR code on their mobile device from the Nourish + Bloom app. Computer-vision technology from provider UST powers the store's automated-checkout capabilities for most products; traditional barcode scanning and touch-screen functionality is available to assist in purchase of age-restricted products and large merchandise. 

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Founders Jamie Michael Hemmings and Jilea Hemmings found inspiration for the business during the pandemic and after their oldest son was diagnosed with autism. "Everyone deserves access to healthy food," the founders note on Nourish + Bloom's website. "We believe that everyone deserves to eat healthy."

A commitment to addressing that need—especially to help combat food insecurity in underserved communities—was at the heart of development of a grocery concept designed to be faster and frictionless. "We wanted to provide a solution for customers where they wouldn’t have to wait in line or touch anything while checking out," Jilea Hemmings, the company's CEO, added in a news release about the Fayetteville store's opening.

Working extensively with UST, Nourish + Bloom has its eye on scaling up to hundreds of locations across the U.S. "We are confident that this technology will change how customers shop in the next three to five years," Jilea Hemmings said. 

Beyond the tech-forward in-store shopping experience, Nourish + Bloom is powering up grocery delivery to nearby downtown addresses via two robots—named, respectively, Nourish and Bloom.

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