Although Grocery Connect officially kicked off Jan. 31 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kroger soft-launched the initiative last December by providing free groceries to 200 families in South Dallas.
Kroger Delivery is the power behind Grocery Connect, a new initiative from Bonton Farms that aims to address grocery access in South Dallas food deserts by providing fee-free delivery of groceries ordered online for pickup at designated staffed community centers. The first of these is the South Dallas Fair Park Innercity Community Development Corp. (ICDC).
Customers who placed an online order via Grocery Connect the previous week will arrive at ICDC to pick up their grocery orders during the designated weekly pickup window every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Although the program officially kicked off Jan. 31 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kroger soft-launched the initiative last December by providing free groceries to 200 families in South Dallas.
“For decades, initiatives have tried to address grocery access in food desert communities with limited success,” noted Gabe Madison, president at Bonton Farms, which encompasses two fully functioning farms, a farmer’s market, a café and a coffee house, all dedicated to community development. “Grocery Connect is a nontraditional approach to solving this issue. It places these communities at the forefront of where significant portions of retail grocery shopping is headed and is a model for the eradication of urban food deserts in the U.S.”
“Expanding food access is core to our mission at Kroger Delivery, bringing more fresh food to more people,” said Ben Hamilton, VP of e-commerce supply chain and logistics at Kroger Fulfillment. “Through this collaboration, we are able to deepen those efforts and serve more residents in the South Dallas neighborhood of North Texas.”
Through Kroger’s fulfillment center located in the area, Grocery Connect customers will receive the same pricing as in-store shoppers, with access to 33,000-plus products – but no delivery fees, service charges or tips.
“Kroger’s delivery footprint allows us to reach more areas without the time and multimillion-dollar expense of building and maintaining a brick-and-mortar grocery store,” observed Keith Shoemaker, president of Kroger’s Dallas division. “Our refrigerated fleet will ensure that the groceries arrive fresh and the ice cream will remain frozen, all with no delivery fees for Grocery Connect shoppers.”
There are plans for three Grocery Connect centers, where community members will be able access computers and staff for training and support on ordering, and to ensure that they get what they ordered and are satisfied at pickup. The first center is now open at 4907 Spring Avenue in Dallas in the ICDC building. The second center is slated to open this Spring at the Dallas Bethlehem Center, and the third at Bonton Farms in the fall.
Grocery Connect staff can also help visitors determine whether they’re qualified for SNAP benefits and assist with enrollment in the program. These centers will be open at convenient times for the communities they serve, including some weekend and evening hours, especially if a customer is unable to collect a grocery order during the normal pickup window.
“Grocery Connect is a long-term solution that will bring equity to the community of South Dallas in the form of access to fresh and nutritious food,” noted ICDC Executive Director Billy Lane.
Serving more than 11 million customers daily through digital shopping and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Kroger one of the Retailers of the Century.