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Latest Drive-Thru Grocery Opens in New England

Addie’s welcomes shoppers to its 1st concept store, in Norwood, Mass.
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Addie's lead
Addie's is the latest drive-thru grocer to debut, as research confirms that consumers are embracing the pickup method.

Another grocery entity is pulling up to the drive-thru business. The first concept store from the Addie's banner opened this week on 911 Boston Providence Highway in Norwood, Mass., just south of Boston.

The pickup-only store was designed to redefine the grocery shopping experience. “Grocery reimagined” is what Addie’s calls the concept, explaining that the idea marries convenience, efficiency and quality. “Delivery sounds great! Until that fresh produce you bought arrives early and is left freezing on your front porch. Addie’s Drive-up grocery means we keep your food safe and sound until you arrive,” the company proclaims on its website.

[Read more: "A Good Year for Grocers to Go Smaller"]

The 22,000-square-foot location includes a separate building that serves as a warehouse for a variety of products from national and local brands. Customers order online via the Addie’s app or website and choose a pickup window. Once in the parking lot, they simply pull up to a spot in a covered structure adjacent to the warehouse to check in and get their groceries from a team member. 

The company touts the convenient experience for consumers as well as other benefits, from higher starting wages ($20 per hour) for employees to reduced food waste. Addie’s plans to donate food near its expiration date but still in good quality to local food banks or “give it away to our customers to enjoy.” Expired food is composted.  

The business is backed by the Disruptive Innovation Fund, a venture capital arm of Rose Park Advisors. "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 Addie’s co-founder and CEO Jim McQuade. "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."

Added Matt Christensen, CEO and managing partner at Rose Park Advisors: “The traditional business model of in-store shopping makes serving convenience-focused shoppers highly challenging. We see disruptive potential in Addie's technology-powered drive-up grocery model and are excited to support them as they launch."

This is the latest grocery business to go pure pickup. Also infused with fresh funding, curbside grocer JackBe is set to open three concept stores this year. Opie, which bills itself as a hometown local business offering a “swell experience” and has a 1950s car-hop vibe, operates a drive-thru store in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Farm Stores, a drive-thru grocery store and bakery chain, has actually been around since 1957 and runs several franchise locations in Florida.

The pickup model seems to be appealing to shoppers as e-commerce habits evolve. According to the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey conducted in late December, pickup was the only method to gain sales during that month, up 14.7%. In its 2022 Omnichannel Shopper Behavior report, Mercatus also reported that more households used pickup over delivery; 65% of the monthly active user (MAU) base for pickup is still active, compared to 50% of MAUs for delivery. 

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