Online grocery service Relay Foods launches in Durham

Posted by Corinne Jurney on June 9, 2014 

Relay Foods, a Virginia-based online grocery service, launched in Durham on Monday and plans to expand to other parts of the Triangle in the coming weeks.

Shoppers place their orders on the company’s website, and can pick up their groceries the following day at one of three locations in downtown Durham, Research Triangle Park and the Old West Durham neighborhood. There is no fee for membership or pick up and prices are in line with grocers such as Whole Foods and Harris Teeter, said Graham Evans, Relay’s vice president of new markets.

The company’s target consumer is a household is a family with two busy, working parents, Evans said.

The Triangle is Relay’s fifth market. It also operates in Charlottesville, Richmond, Baltimore and Washington.

Several established Triangle grocers, including Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods, allow customers to order online and pick up at a store. Lowes and Harris Teeter also offer home delivery to select markets in the Triangle for a fee.

Relay plans to eventually add additional features such home delivery for a fee. The company markets itself as a full-scale grocer.

Relay focuses on local foods and has established partnerships with a number of Triangle vendors, including Slingshot Coffee, Maple View Farm, Nello’s Sauce, Latta’s Egg Ranch, Vintage Bee Honey, Escazú Chocolates and Tempeh Girl.

The company plans to build a warehouse in the Triangle to house its inventory but until then is delivering groceries from existing facilities in its other markets, Evans said.

In addition to food, Relay also sells everyday goods such as toiletries and cleaning supplies. The website has recipes, meal plans and a category for shoppers with special dietary needs.

Relay offers sales and discounts that are refreshed weekly. Customers initially will receive $15 off for spending $50.

Relay hopes to eventually sell beer and wine, if it can do so legally under North Carolina’s liquor laws. The company sells beer and wine in Virginia, but has not been able to do so in Maryland.

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