New delivery service starts in Richmond

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 11/1/2018, 6 a.m.
For a flat delivery fee of $1.95 and the cost of the goods, Richmonders can get diapers, toilet paper, beverages ...

For a flat delivery fee of $1.95 and the cost of the goods, Richmonders can get diapers, toilet paper, beverages and snacks delivered to their home between noon and 4 a.m. seven days a week.

That’s the promise of goPuff, a digital convenience retailer that is adding Richmond to the list of more than 40 cities it serves.

The Philadelphia-based company announced Tuesday that its convenience service is in operation in Richmond, but stated in a release that it initially will serve just a fraction of the city, including North Side, The Fan, Scott’s Addition and Downtown, as well as the Lakeside area of Henrico County.

The company is not yet serving Church Hill, Fulton and the South Side, but hopes to expand into additional areas of Richmond depending on the success of its initial foray, spokesperson Kellie Kerwin said.

goPuff adds to a growing list of home delivery services in the area. However, Chop Chop RVA, Doordash, GrubHub and other companies mostly focus on delivering restaurant-prepared food to customers.

goPuff is focusing on replacing convenience stores, Ms. Kerwin said.

According to the company’s release, goPuff stocks more than 2,000 products in centrally located warehouses. In Richmond, the warehouse is on Rosedale Avenue near the Richmond Public Schools’ Technical Center in North Side.

Customers can use mobile phones or computers to order products that company drivers then deliver directly to homes or businesses of people who might otherwise go to a 7-Eleven or other convenience store. The company has hired about 72 people, including 12 warehouse staff and 60 drivers for the initial startup, Ms. Kerwin said.

People can use the delivery service to get items in the wee hours, the company states. The company also will deliver beer and wine to Richmond customers until midnight. State regulations bar off-site delivery of alcohol after midnight, Ms. Kerwin said.

“goPuff’s mission is to create more time in the day for our customers and redefine the meaning of convenience,” said Rafael Ilishayev, goPuff co-founder. “We’re thrilled to bring that experience to this vibrant community.”