Small grocery stores adding curbside pickup

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The COVID-19 pandemic has small grocery stores working to adapt to serve customers.

Midtown Fresh in Kalamazoo added curbside pickup a few weeks ago and has been expanding the service as demand increases.

Customers can purchase groceries on an app or the store’s website and select a time for pickup.

Shannon Twite picked up her groceries from the grocery store Thursday using the service for the first time.

“It worked well. I only had one substitution and there wasn’t a lot that was like out of stock or anything,” Twite said.

She says it is a good option because many pickup services for larger grocery stores are backed up for days.

“Last week, I did an Instacart order and they emailed me like five minutes later and were like no we don’t have any of this stuff in stock and Walmart orders are like five days out right now. So yeah, it’s been hard,” Twite said.

Many shoppers in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas say Shipt is also experiencing a long wait.

The company provided this statement to News 8:

“Given the current environment, we’re experiencing higher-than-average order requests and understand customers may be experiencing longer-than-usual delivery times, unavailable day-of delivery windows or unavailable items due to high demand. If a requested item is out of stock, our shoppers will do their best to find customers an alternative, but we encourage our customers to check back often.

To help community members get access to the groceries, everyday essentials and medicine they need more quickly, we’re in the process of hiring additional shoppers and customer support team members for faster service.”

Samantha Martin with Midtown Fresh says their store is taking as many precautions as possible to make pickup safe.

“We wear gloves, we wear masks, we sanitize after each customer, we change gloves after each customer,” Martin said.

Store employee Kelsey Edgerly says the option is becoming more popular every day.

“It’s something we have talked about but when the whole pandemic went on, it’s something we absolutely just pushed right away and kind of jumped right into it and got it started now,” Edgerly said.

Many shoppers see new pickup options as something that will remain and expand after the pandemic.

“I think it will be the new normal. I think a lot of people will settle into it,” Twite said.