YOUR GROCER: TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE SHOP
By Charlotte Pordage
Brunswick resident Morgan Ranieri knows a thing or two about successful start-ups. Six years ago, when he was still a teenager, he co-founded a social enterprise called Thank You Water, a bottled water company that funds safe water projects in developing nations. His latest venture, Your Grocer, was launched two years ago and is set to revolutionise the way we go about our grocery shopping, offering easy online ordering and same day delivery with one key difference: all the produce comes from local shops. I recently had a chat with him to find out more about this exciting business…
How did you first come up with the idea for Your Grocer?
The idea of delivering groceries came up while we were thinking of ways to make some money to sustain a struggling farm project in Cambodia. The more we looked into it, the more the idea developed and we saw a huge opportunity. Food online is just starting to happen now; it’s one of those areas of e-commerce that hasn’t really been tapped into and it’s not common to buy your food online. The idea evolved even more when we realised that there are a whole bunch of local, independent shops who want to sell online but can’t because running a business online is nothing like running a bricks and mortar business – there are so many different challenges that these guys just aren’t set up to solve themselves.
When did you launch the business? How has it grown?
We started in May 2013 and the first six months was a real pilot; we literally just rented out a refrigerated van and delivered a couple of days a week, with a really basic website and only a couple of local shops involved. We now deliver seven days a week to 20 different suburbs out of 17 shops and we have hundreds of customers. Our challenge for this year is to figure out how to start new runs in new areas, what’s the best way to grow and scale up.
What is unique about Your Grocer?
There are other companies around but they still seem to be focused on the big supermarkets; we’re the only ones sourcing our products from local shops. We’re really trying to find that balance between good quality produce from the community and convenience. At the end of the day, getting great food is awesome but if you can’t spend time with your kids on the weekend because you’re at the shops, that’s a difficult trade-off for people to make. We wanted to create a super convenient service for consumers that want to buy local but don’t have the time.
Why is it important to buy local?
People are starting to cotton on to the fact that what they’re used to buying from the supermarkets isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. If you demand the cheapest price on everything, you’re going to end up with some compromises. As consumers, we shape what’s around us by the money we spend and where we spend it. If we’re buying milk for a dollar a litre at Coles, we shouldn’t be shocked when all the dairy farms go out of business. I believe local is going to become more important than organic, now that people are really starting to ask questions about where their food comes from.
What has the feedback from customers been like?
We’ve got some really amazing customers who really care about the shops. We’re still developing the service and ironing out the creases but people really love the concept and will go out of their way to give us feedback because they really want this to work. We even had one customer, who was moving to Brunswick West, ask us if we deliver there because she didn’t want to move if not.
What do you consider your biggest business achievement to date?
At the moment we’re helping about 300 people in the northern suburbs, who were previously buying at Coles or Woolies or who wanted to shop local but weren’t able to, buy locally, which means an extra $50,000 a month going back into the local community.
Your Grocer currently operates in Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick, Coburg, Northcote and Thornbury, with new suburbs being added all the time. The company’s partnerships with local food outlets include Rustica Sourdough, Le Manna Fresh, North Carlton Quality Meats and Canals Seafood. For more information and to claim $20 off your first order, visit yourgrocer.com.au.
Charlotte Pordage is a freelance writer/editor from the UK. She has a degree in English Literature and Latin and her interests include riding her horse Oscar and exploring Melbourne’s eclectic nightlife. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @charpordage.