SWANZEY — Gomarlo’s Shop ‘n’ Save has expanded its services to meet a growing demand for grocery delivery amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gomarlo’s has been offering delivery to its customers for years, but didn’t advertise the service until recently, said Willy Gomarlo, grocery manager at the Swanzey staple on Route 10.
He said the business wants to do its part to help people who are unable to leave their homes due to the outbreak.
“We’re just keeping up the best we can to keep everybody safe,” he said. “We also do a lot of curbside pickup, too.”
Before the pandemic, the store was doing deliveries only on Thursdays and Fridays, but now employees make deliveries every weekday. Gomarlo said the store stops taking new delivery orders at noon each day due to the number of customers requesting them.
He said expanding the service wasn’t too complicated because the store was already set up to make deliveries. Now they’re just making more of them.
Gomarlo’s is one of a number of grocery delivery and pickup options available locally. They include Instacart, a web-based delivery service that pairs customers with a shopper who will pick up their order and bring it to their door. Instacart has also partnered with some grocery chains that have local stores, including Price Chopper and Aldi’s in Keene and Shaw’s in Peterborough, to deliver groceries ordered through their websites.
In addition, members of the Keene Young Professionals Network have partnered with the Monadnock Rugby Football Club to offer free delivery of groceries to those who are unable to get to the store themselves.
Grocery delivery is limited to the Monadnock Region, according to program coordinator Maggie Rice.
Annette Johnson said she was grateful when she found out that Gomarlo’s offers delivery. The Keene resident is staying at home during the outbreak, taking special care to stay isolated due to her recent travel.
In January, she left town for an extended visit with family in Florida, so she cleaned out her fridge to dispose of any perishable food items. But when she returned a couple of weeks ago, she needed to restock.
At first, she turned to Instacart to get her groceries. But when Johnson, who is on a fixed income, saw her bill, she felt she was charged far too much.
According to its website, Instacart typically charges fees ranging from $3.99 to $7.99 per delivery, but those rates may go up or down depending on the size of the order, how quickly a customer wants it delivered and how busy Instacart shoppers are at a given time. Gomarlo’s delivers groceries to Swanzey residents for free and charges $5 elsewhere in Cheshire County.
“I just really appreciate the fact that somebody is willing to bring [groceries] to me,” Johnson said, commending the delivery drivers for taking the risk of going out in public to help others stay safe. “And $5 is nothing.”
Gomarlo said the store’s staff has been working around the clock since the crisis began in earnest in mid-March and understands the importance of helping those in need.
“That’s our job as human beings,” he said, “to help the ones that need the help.”