New grocery delivery service introduced to Duke's campuses
A new grocery delivery service run by undergraduate students, made its first delivery Sunday.
The service—DevilGroceries—hosts a website through which students living on all three campuses can order groceries to be delivered to their rooms. Orders can be placed any day of the week, and deliveries are made every Sunday. Juniors John Hosey and Anshuman Prasad founded the service following a summer of living on campus together.
“Anshuman, who is from Delhi, asked me whether there were milkmen in the U.S.," Hosey said. I told him there used to be. That got us thinking, ‘What if there were milkmen for Duke? What if we started delivering milk and cereal?’”
The selection has grown from milk and cereal. DevilGroceries currently offers 19 types of fruit, 18 types of vegetables and a variety of other food items—many of which cannot be bought on campus.
New selections are added weekly, Hosey said.
“We’re offering a lot of food that people can’t get on campus,” he added. “Fresh fruits, fresh veggies, fresh bread. We buy them the same day they’re delivered, so you know they’re fresh."
Hosey noted that common food venue Au Bon Pain only offers one type of apple, but students can order a wider selection from DevilGroceries.
Students can currently pay for their deliveries using credit, debit or cash. The DevilGroceries team hopes to eventually offer the option of paying with Food Points or FLEX, Hosey said.
“Getting on food points is our primary goal," he said. "It would make our service a lot more accessible for students, and it would be beneficial for the University as well.”
One goal of DevilGroceries is to offer selections at a lower cost to students than the Duke alternatives. There is a $3.99 flat rate delivery charge for every order, and a minimum order of ten dollars is required.
Orders placed on Central and West campuses are delivered directly to students' doors, whereas East campus orders are delivered to the dorm common rooms.
The service currently works with Target, Kroger, Food Lion and Sam’s Club to purchase their selection, but one of the long-term goals is to expand into other retailers, Hosey said.
“We source items wherever they are cheapest in an effort to keep prices as low as possible,” Prasad said. “Hopefully a long-term agreement with one or more stores will lead to a further reduction in prices.”
Junior Samantha Perez, who like many others, does not have a car on campus, said that this service would be beneficial to many students.
“I really like this idea because part of the reason why I don’t cook is because I don’t have a car, and I don’t have any way to get groceries,” Perez said. “I think it would be a great service for students without cars.”
Sophomore Peter Shi, who found out about the service from a post on the Duke Class of 2016 Facebook page, was one of the first recipients of a DevilGroceries delivery Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t want to go all the way to Whole Foods, which is the nearest option for students who want to buy groceries, and I wanted to save some time,” Shi said.
Hosey said thus far the Duke community has been supportive of the new venture. Both creators have confidence in the future success of DevilGroceries.
“Even President Brodhead asked if we’d deliver to his house,” Prasad said.