Can’t make it to the farmer’s market this week, or need to snag a list of pantry staples along with your Colorado-made cravings? Pinemelon, a grocery delivery service with a focus on locally-sourced products, opened its services to Denver metro customers on April 12.
This is not another Uber Eats or Instacart. Pinemelon partners with producers and distributors to get groceries to their fulfillment center, where staff members assemble orders and deliver them to customers’ doors. Delivery drivers are not gig workers, they get benefits and healthcare; plus, they drive temperature-controlled vehicles. Order-filling staff is trained in quality inspection, so they shouldn’t be adding anything to your cart that you wouldn’t.
“As a father of three, we know that every family is a little bit different, but I think that a lot of families like to try to be healthy and prioritize organic when they can,” Pinemelon general manager Chris Franklin says. “We’ve tried to make all natural, organic, and local products a focus, and sprinkle in some of those national brand items.” Things like Goldfish, for the kids.
It’s also Pinemelon’s goal to have 20 to 25 percent of its offerings coming from local businesses with a variety of products, including meats and produce. That’s about twice as much as you’d find at the average chain grocery, according to Franklin.
“People really want to buy local as much as they can,” Franklin says. “For some, it’s more environmentally friendly to reduce the carbon footprint. For others, it’s just a matter of supporting people here in the community. So we wanted to find those local producers and artists, growers, and ranchers, and find a way to support them, tell their stories, and sell the product.”
Spring Born in Silt, which grows organic lettuce using 95 percent less water than many farms, is an example of the kind of business that Pinemelon likes to partner with, according to Franklin. Some products on the delivery website like Chocolove bars and La Belle French Bakery pastries are known and loved, but Pinemelon’s goal is to also bring in new brands for customers to try out.
“Getting launched is sort of a phase one goal, but then as we go on from there, I think you’ll see some pretty creative partnerships,” Franklin says, noting their intention to help small producers make the leap into the highly regulated grocery market where they can scale up.
As far as customer choice goes, Pinemelon launched with around 5,500 items and will work to double that number in the next six months. Using feedback from customers, they’ll go out and create additional partnerships.
Pinemelon also hopes to look out for customers’ wallets through their business model, which is vertically integrated, meaning they control everything from the inventory to the delivery. According to Franklin, they can be more efficient than some of the other grocery delivery services and pass savings on to customers.
“Our goal is to have pricing that is competitive with the chains overall,” Franklin says. “(A customer should) look at the basket of groceries overall that’s delivered to your house and feel like the price is as good or better than what our competition would be in the grocery store. But then also not add on a bunch of extra service charges and fees after the fact to get it to your house.”
Need to Know:
Pinemelon will deliver 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week in a 30-mile radius from its fulfillment center (near 1-25 and 58th Ave.). Orders under $35 have a $4.95 delivery fee; which is waived if the cart exceeds $35.