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Drive-thru grocery concept Addie's makes store debut

Addie’s first store is now open in Norwood, Mass.

A new pick-up-only grocery store has opened in the Boston suburbs.

Addie’s, a drive-thru supermarket retailer, opened its first location in Norwood, Mass. on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. The 22,000-sq.-ft. store is designed solely as an onsite warehouse for stocking, storing, and bagging groceries, without the need for a shopper to enter.

Consumers purchase groceries through Addie's custom app or website, and then choose a pick-up window that works best for their schedules. The store’s parking lot is designed to provide a convenient drive-up experience. Addie’s stocks a curated selection of national brands and locally popular products, constantly modifying its assortment based on customer searches and requests.

According to Addie’s, the design of its store and parking lot produce operational savings which enable to it offer starting wages for store employees of $20 per hour. The retailer says it maintains competitive pricing and uses only 25% of the energy required to run a traditional brick-and-mortar supermarket.

"We believe that taking better care of busy families should be done in a way that also takes care of our team, our community, and our planet," said Jim McQuade, co-founder and CEO of Addie's. "With our seed funding, we've built an end-to-end experience to serve people in and around Norwood in a way that can be replicated in suburbs nationwide. We look forward to quickly expanding, offering busy families across the country drive-up grocery convenience without compromise."

Addie’s received $10.1 million in seed funding led by the Disruptive Innovation Fund, the venture capital arm of Clay Christensen's Rose Park Advisors.

Regional grocers provide drive-thru, delivery service

At least two other independent, regional grocery retailers have also launched drive-thru store concepts in the past year or so. Opie, a drive-thru grocery chain based in South Carolina that fulfills orders within minutes. Customers can pull into any space in the store parking lot, place their order on the Opie app, select “I’m at the store now” at checkout, and receive their purchases in minutes.

Shoppers can also order ahead on the Opie app or website and pick up their goods in as soon as five minutes, with no fees or order minimum. And earlier in January, JackBe opened its first drive-thru grocery store in Edmond, Okla., with two more locations slated to open this year. JackBe stores operate exclusively as a location where customers come to pick up their groceries ordered via the retailer’s custom, proprietary mobile app.

In minutes, customers can place an order and when ready, pull into one of the drive-thru bays, where a JackBe associate will deliver the groceries directly to their car, the company said. The 17,000-sq.-ft. Edmond store can serve up to 200 orders per hour.

Ultrafast delivery – without the delivery

All three of these retailers are offering an in-store-pickup-focused spin on the trend of on-demand delivery companies using micro-fulfillment-based dark stores and online ordering to provide ultrafast delivery of grocery and CPG products.

However, several startups focused on ultrafast delivery, including Buyk and Jokr, have shut down or left the U.S. market, while startup Gorillas no longer guarantees delivery in 10 minutes or less. Perhaps shifting the last mile to the consumer can make this model more sustainable in the long term.

[Read more: Ultrafast delivery platform Jokr to exit U.S. market]

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