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Go Grocer Has Big Plans, But a Steady Approach

Chicago-based retailer with ultrafast delivery set to open new stores, move into more markets
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Go Grocer
Go Grocer is on the go, with plans for a new Chicago store and expansion into other urban markets.

Chicago may be their kind of town, but brothers Greg and Paul Stellatos are eyeing other big cities as they take their Go Grocer business to the next level. They’re also doing it their way, as they have rebuffed at least two buyout offers and navigated a landscape that’s gotten increasingly crowded.

Frank Sinatra references aside, the Stellatos siblings are betting on their approach that is both measured and ambitious as they provide urban consumers with convenient solutions. “We’re still bootstrapped, and we service a million transactions a year,” Paul Stellatos told Progressive Grocer.

Go Grocer currently operates 15 physical locations in Chicago, a retail presence that dovetails with its fast delivery business. Its latest small-format store is set to open later this spring in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood and will serve as a fulfillment location for local delivery.

To facilitate deliveries and stay steadfastly independent, the company recently launched its own app, which has been gaining users at a rapid clip. “We’re seeing a ton of growth quickly,” said Stellatos.

Both in store and via its native app, Go Grocer offers a mix of products. The retailer – often described as a mix of Whole Foods and 7-Eleven – provides fresh produce, meat, dairy, prepared foods, hundreds of wine and craft beer varieties and an expanded assortment of household goods that range from pantry staples to light bulbs. “We utilize our grocery app and locations as mini fulfillment centers, and what differentiates us is our product mix – the things people in high-density communities need,” Stellatos explained.

As Chicago natives, the owners understand the intricacies and bureaucracies of doing business there and are mindful of getting to the next level in a way that will ultimately prove successful. “We are focusing on crawl-walk-run instead of just burning through venture money,” he remarked.

That said, Go Grocer is picking up the pace with anticipated moves into new markets. According to Stellatos, the founders are working on plans to expand nationwide, in highly populated locations in the Midwest and likely the East Coast. They are also adding to their team, bringing on more industry experts to help them through this next phase of growth.

Stellatos thinks that their 20-plus year experience in the industry – they started with a small store in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood – and their business philosophy will keep Go Grocer upright as the dust settles in the instant needs space. “That’s the difference between us and our competitors – we are grocery operators. That’s what we know and what we’ve been going for years,” said Stellatos, adding, “I don’t know where they (the competitors) are headed, but I know where we are going.”

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