In the nation’s heartland, a new kind of food desert is prompting a unique solution. Fresh Out of the Box is a delivery service started by Ramsey's Market in Lenox, Iowa, through which customers in rural communities can pick up groceries from refrigerated and frozen lockers.
The closing of brick-and-mortar grocery stores in this part of Southwest Iowa led to the launch of the service. “Think of it like a post office for food,” Ramsey's declares on its website.
Currently, Ramsey’s is operating lockers in the towns of Shelby and Walnut. Customers there can buy a membership for $14.95 monthly or $149.95 annually and order a variety of groceries, including fresh foods, to be delivered to their assigned locker within a day.
Owners Theo and Bonnie Ramsey also operate a hardware store in Lenox and such goods can be delivered to customers’ lockers from that store, too.
"Flexibility is where our head is. We know that this is maybe not the answer for the next 20 years but we'll keep evolving as long as we can," Theo Ramsey told Omaha, Neb.-based KMTV News in an interview this week.