GROCERY DELIVERY SYSTEM
Healthy food markets are a cornerstone of healthy communities. In the visioning sessions, residents pointed to the then-potential closing of Villisca Foods, the only local grocery store, as a major concern. Though the opening of a new Dollar General stands as a point of excitement within the community, many residents are still worried about the reduced access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many rural areas lack food retailers and are considered food deserts: areas with limited supplies of fresh, affordable foods. Ironically, some of these food deserts are located in areas where the food is grown.
Though there is no quick fix to bring a local grocery store back into business, there is a solution that could bring fresh foods to the residents of Villisca while still supporting regional small businesses. Thirty miles east in Lenox lies Ramsey’s Market, a family-owned neighborhood grocery store aiming to modernize their business by introducing food deliveries.
Currently, Ramsey’s offers deliveries only within Lenox city limits at a small fee of $2.00. However, if the residents of Villisca could guarantee there is consistent interest and need for grocery items, the owners could be incentivized to make the 30-minute drive to Villisca weekly or bi-weekly, depending on demand.
A delivery system wherein Ramsey’s delivers to a local partner within Villisca would be ideal for both parties, as Ramsey’s would only have to make one large delivery, and the local partner would receive additional business for storing the grocery deliveries in a refrigerated area until individual residents or families could pick up their orders at their convenience.
The suggested local partner is local restaurant TJ’s. TJ’s has existing freezer and refrigerator space to store groceries from a weekly delivery from Ramsey’s and could serve as the point of pick up for Villisca residents. TJ’s would charge a small fee, divided over each delivery, to be added to the overall delivery fee from Ramsey’s, as an added incentive for them to agree to be the local partner.
Survey community to ensure need and interest in grocery delivery and demand for specific products
Digital survey link to be sent out to steering committee and shared across all platforms to ensure a large response from Villisca residents
Negotiate deal with Ramsey’s Grocery Store
Provide Theo and Bonnie Ramsey, the owners of Ramsey’s with survey results, informing them of guaranteed purchases from the community of Villisca
Secure local partner
Theo and Bonnie Ramsey, steering committee
Enter negotiations with TJ’s to store food deliveries from Ramsey’s until residents can pick up their orders. Incentivize them with a portion of revenue sharing
Ramsey’s and TJ’s
Spread the word about the grocery delivery service with digital marketing, print advertisements, and word of mouth. Monitor usage of grocery services and adjust accordingly