That’s a simple thing to say if you live within the city limits of a community that has a grocery store that delivers- perhaps a given if you live in the metro area. Living in a rural area puts you at the mercy of the services available.
I called six grocery stores -Todd County doesn’t have many more than that- and though there wasn’t a consistent answer, the general feeling is that delivering groceries is not a profitable enterprise. Three make deliveries within their city limits at no charge. One delivers only to its community’s senior housing unit.
“We deliver whenever they call but there are only three or four. They’re long-time customers,” says Browen’s Country Market in Grey Eagle. Browen’s delivers as a community service.
Amanda Crosby of Steve’s Country Market in Browerville occasionally makes home deliveries. She lives in Browerville and has worked at the store for ten years. Steve’s makes regular deliveries on Tuesdays and Fridays to a half dozen people. The cost is one dollar per delivery. “We had up to 12 -14 but they’ve moved out, passed away or have gone to a nursing home.”
One store has never made deliveries and doesn’t plan to. Unlike metro living where residents have many options, if you live in rural Minnesota or a small town with only one grocery store that doesn’t make deliveries, you have to get creative. Family and friends often help out but this reduces independence.
Mark Poegel, manager of Coborn’s in Long Prairie, thinks home delivery of groceries could be a service of the future. “We have ‘target hours’ that are allotted for jobs. It takes time to take phone orders and there are no hours allotted for deliveries.” The corporate world attempts to analyze and streamline their services, unlike the Mom and Pop grocery owners who live in the communities where they do business. Mark says the stores in larger cities have computerized their delivery systems. People can log on to the grocery store’s website and place an order. The store prints out the order, fills it and uses a van for deliveries. “In Todd County the older folks don’t use computers,”
Mark may be right that this will work better when the generation that grew up with computers arrives at the time in their lives when they can no longer drive to the grocery store. Perhaps an enterprising food industry mogul should look at producing less expensive, smaller serving, salt and preservative restricted, nutritious frozen meals for home deliveries in 2040. That should be about right. I’ll be in my 80s and ready to let someone else feed me.