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Wed, May 27

Virtual shopping aids Verde Valley as customers buy groceries online

Bashas’, Food City, Fry’s, Safeway and CVS use Instacart to deliver groceries to their Verde Valley residents. Founded in 2012, Instacart delivers goods from more than 350 national, regional and local retailers nationwide.

Bashas’, Food City, Fry’s, Safeway and CVS use Instacart to deliver groceries to their Verde Valley residents. Founded in 2012, Instacart delivers goods from more than 350 national, regional and local retailers nationwide.

VERDE VALLEY — Since the onset of COVID-19, supermarkets have struggled to keep their stores fully stocked.

Despite empty shelves of cleaning and paper products, checkout lines have gotten longer. However, more and more people are ordering their groceries online – and having them delivered to their home.

Bashas’, Food City, Fry’s, Safeway and CVS use Instacart to deliver groceries to their Verde Valley residents. Founded in 2012, Instacart delivers goods from more than 350 national, regional and local retailers nationwide.

Although Instacart delivers daily, in more rural communities such as the Verde Valley, delivery times fluctuate from same day to about 48 hours.

Visit Instacart.com or download the app to have groceries delivered to your home.

150% increase in online customer orders

According to an April 8 news release, Instacart’s order volume has “grown more than 150% over the last several weeks.”

With the purchase of more bulk items, busier stores overall, reduced store hours, and longer check-out lines, Instacart is “leaning on the flexibility of our dynamic delivery model to meet the needs of our customers.”

Instacart also reported that in the past week, approximately 250,000 new customers have signed up to become Instacart full-service shoppers, approximately 50,000 of them have already started shopping on the platform.

Nancy Keane, public affairs and government relations for Safeway, said Wednesday that the supermarket’s grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery, and pickup services “have been experiencing a higher than normal demand.”

“As we add open slots for delivery and pickup, they are being reserved quickly by customers,” she said.

The company, which also owns Albertsons supermarkets, is hiring delivery drivers and personal shoppers “to help meet demand,” Keane said.

Visit safeway.com/careers for more information.

‘Working diligently’

Safeway has implemented golden hours for its seniors and vulnerable shoppers from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also, Safeway has placed limits on its more high-demand products.

“We continue to receive shipments and replenish our shelves to the best of our ability every day,” Keane said.

Not only has Safeway reduced store hours to allow for more time to stock shelves, the company has hired more people to put the product on our shelves.

Despite recommendations to observe social distancing, “customers and members feel safe” when they shop at Bashas’ and Food City stores, said Ashley Shick, director of communications and public affairs.

“Because of hoarding, we’ve put purchase limits on high-demand key products to make sure all of our customers have access to what they need,” Shick said. “We ask that people are respectful of the purchasing limits.”

Despite efforts to have shelves filled with the things people need, Shick reminds shoppers that “any shortages you’ll also see at other stores.”

“All of us are working diligently to procure items, ensuring our customers and our members feel safe shopping in our stores,” she said.

Limit eight – customers at a time

Mount Hope Foods hasn’t changed its store hours, nor has it begun to offer special hours for seniors only. Fact is, the Cottonwood health food store has decided that no more than eight customers should be shopping at any one time.

Although Mount Hope does not partner with Instacart, customers can have delivered many of the store’s signature items through the company’s wholesale website, mounthopewholesale.com. But produce is not available through the website.

If it’s produce you must have, but you prefer to keep out of the grocery store, call Mount Hope at 928-634-8251 or email retail@mounthopefoods.com to place an order for pickup. All pickup orders are to be paid only by credit card.

Store hours

Bashas’

650 Finnie Flat Road, Camp Verde

928-567-4585

Open 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily

Open to seniors only from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m. Wednesdays

Delivery also available.

Food City

1501 State Route 89A, Cottonwood

928-634-4281

Open 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily

Open to seniors only from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m. Wednesdays

Delivery also available.

Fry’s

1100 S. State Route 260, Cottonwood

928-634-9611

Open 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily

Open to seniors only from 6 a.m. until 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday

Delivery and pickup also available.

Mount Hope Foods

853 S. Main St., Cottonwood

928-634-8251

Open 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday

Limit eight customers in store at any one time.

Safeway

1635 E. Cottonwood Lane, Cottonwood

928-634-3711

Open 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily

Open to seniors only from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

Delivery and pickup also available.

Tips for online shopping

Instacart suggests the following tips for customers who are either new to online grocery shopping or anyone who is relying on the service more than ever for their grocery needs:

-Check delivery times frequently. Due to greater customer demand, available delivery windows may fluctuate throughout the day. Instacart teams are working around the clock to ensure availability, and they encourage customers to check available delivery times frequently.

-Choose preferred replacements and be available for shopper questions. During the coronavirus crisis, retailers are experiencing increased demand for certain items. Help your shopper get what you need by remaining flexible and choosing replacement options for everything on your list. While your shopper is shopping your order, be ready to respond to questions about replacement options by using the in-app chat functionality.

-Plan ahead. Take frequent inventory of your fresh foods, pantry staples and household essentials, and place your orders in advance of running out of what you need.

-Send groceries to a loved one. As an Instacart customer, you can send groceries to friends or family members, even if they’re across the country.

It’s easy to give the gift of groceries to someone else. Simply input their zip code, choose their local store, fill up your cart with the items they need, place and pay for their order to be delivered to their home.

You can even track replacements, chat with their shopper directly from the store, and help notify them when their groceries have arrived. If you think your recipient would prefer to manage their own order, you can also send them a virtual Instacart gift card.

-Use a group cart. With Instacart’s group carts, you can invite a friend or loved one to join your cart, work together to add the items they need, and ship them directly to their preferred address. Families in the same household can make sure everyone orders the items they want, or you can help a relative in another state add all the items they need and navigate the checkout and delivery process for them. You can create a new group cart by clicking “My Carts” in the upper right corner of your Instacart account, then “Create a group cart.”

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