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After grocery delivery service ends, former driver picking up slack to help seniors

Worker says seniors left behind
Posted at 11:25 AM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 20:31:41-04

EDGEWATER, Colo. – Home deliveries through Kroger’s Home Shop service stopped on Saturday.

King Soopers recently announced its partnership with Instacart, the same-day delivery app. The move put King Soopers’ home delivery service on a digital-only platform, where customers shop through an app or online.

With this new partnership, the retailer has eliminated the need for the Home Shop phone bank.

Doing so has allowed King Soopers to expand its delivery services to 110 locations across the region, offer 62 curbside pickup locations, with plans to add 25 new locations this year.

Some senior viewers have since called into Denver7 with concerns. Many admitted they couldn’t afford a cellphone, a computer, or the internet service needed to access new home delivery options.

Former Home Shop worker Melinda Wolfe is stepping up and taking on the task. She has decided to launch her own grocery delivery service to help those who are elderly and disabled around the Denver metro area.

"A lot of these senior and elderly people do not have access to the internet, and they don't have a smartphone to be able to place that order online like everybody else can," Wolfe told Denver7.

For the younger generation, this digital move is just part of life. However, for some seniors, there is concern about how they're going to sustain theirs.

"We can't be leaving these people out in the dust," she said.

Now she's prepping her 2001 Isuzu Rodeo for delivery runs with plans to help those who aren't mobile.

"On a scale of one to ten, my need would be ten," senior, Wendy Lockwood said.

Prior to Saturday's major change, Lockwood was able to call a phone bank with her grocery list. After that, a personal shopper would collect her items and deliver them to her.

"It wasn't just food, it was TP, paper towels, and cleaning supplies and everything you can imagine," Wolfe said.

Her work will be similar. Wolfe will take customers orders over the phone, then she'll place the orders online and use curbside pick-up. From there, she'll deliver to those in need.

Melinda's Delivery Service accepts phone orders for grocery, pharmacy, and miscellaneous items. She's servicing the Denver Metro Area from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

She is charging $25 for delivery. However, orders over $200 will require a $35 delivery fee. 

Wolfe can be reached at (970)716-0730

She is charging roughly $5 more than the former Home Shop service. This is a fee, seniors said, is well worth the price in a time when they feel technology has passed them by.

While she was with Kroger’s Home Shop service, she shopped and delivered groceries, hygiene products and medication to customers, including a large number of those who are disabled and elderly.

She told Denver7 that getting the word out to seniors has proven to be a much more meticulous task, as the population needing the service isn’t online. Without the option to circulate an online flyer, Wolfe said she'd visited several area senior homes to update the elderly.

Denver7 reached out to Adam Williamson with King Soopers about the recent change.

The public information officer explained the biggest heartache with this partnership is no longer being able to go from phone to home.

Williamson acknowledged the retailer’s understanding that the change will impact the senior population drastically.

He compared the looming situation to Uber, the ride-sharing service. Williamson explained users would have difficulty finding Uber services in remote areas because of the lack of drivers. He said that would be the case with Instacart deliveries.

Williamson said the previous delivery option only worked for a small group. He added, while King Soopers will soon be able to help a majority, it’s hurting the minority.

The retailer's spokesperson released this statement to Denver7:

"We are redefining the grocery experience by investing in technology that meets the needs of today’s customer. For customers that prefer curbside pickup they can find this service at over 60 locations. King Soopers Delivery service can deliver in 2 hours or less and is available at 110 locations from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. We realize one size doesn’t fit all. We do wish we were able to meet every individual’s needs."