GROVELAND, Fla. – Did you know there’s a grocery store serving parts of Central Florida that doesn’t even allow any walk in customers? We’re talking about Kroger. It has a fulfillment center and hubs across the state, making grocery deliveries.
Kroger’s fulfillment center in Groveland opened in 2021, sitting at 375,000 square feet.
“Kroger had plans to build fulfillment centers before COVID and then the pandemic escalated the need for delivery services,” Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Andrea Colby said.
In July, more than 68 million U.S. households bought groceries online, according to an independent ecommerce survey from Brick Meets Click. Online grocery sales for July 2022 brought in $7.8 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2021, with a majority of the groceries getting delivered or shipped to homes rather than picked up by customers.
Kroger is going all in with its ecommerce model in Florida with zero brick-and-mortar grocery stores. When you order your groceries online, an advanced group of robots sorts through the thousands of products stacked in what the company calls the “hive” in its warehouse.
The products are then dropped down in baskets to the Kroger shoppers below who then bag the items.
If you’re wondering about the produce, those are all sorted manually in a climate-controlled room.
“This is very similar to the back of a grocery store. We cut and clean and wash our fresh produce like lettuce, celery and asparagus,” Assistant General Manager Stacey Dark said.
Dark said all of the employees who work with the produce are trained in food safety and handling, pulling any defective produce before delivery. Dark said any customer not satisfied with their produce can request a full refund.
Kroger uses a conveyor-belt system to sort and transport thousands of items throughout the warehouse, organizing each bin and then compiling orders for delivery drivers like Jose Serrano.
“We have an ambient and cooler section. That’s how we separate all of the groceries in the truck to make sure the ice cream stays frozen and the cool items stay cool. It’s different from other vans,” Serrano said.
The trucks also have an organization system to make sure each product makes it to the correct customer.
Deliveries go out to customers who live within 90 minutes of the hub. Serrano said he loves the customer interaction.
“They always put a smile on my face. They talk about their dogs and I love pets. I even get to pet them sometimes and it’s a great experience,” Serrano said.
Have you tried grocery store delivery? Tell us about your experiences with online grocery shopping in the comments below.
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