Online grocer Relay Foods expands into Durham

Jun. 09, 2014 @ 04:55 PM

The online grocer Relay Foods has launched service in Durham as its first stop of a planned expansion plan in the Triangle. 
The company allows people to order locally grown food as well as other grocery items online by visiting www.relayfoods.com. Customers then can either pick up their items at designated locations or to have the items delivered.
Launched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2009, the company has expanded in Virginia, Washington D.C., and the Baltimore, Md., area.
According to the company’s website, Relay Food sells local produce and food, as well as meat and fish, baked goods, and pantry items like cereal, pretzels and chips.
Local vendors from the Triangle include Raleigh’s Slingshot Coffee, Hillsborough’s Maple View Farm, Raleigh’s Nello’s Sauce, Hillsborough’s Latta’s Egg Ranch, Raleigh’s Escazú Chocolates and Tempeh Girl.
The company began pickup service in Durham on Monday. Grocery orders placed by midnight at the company’s website RelayFoods.com are available for pickup as soon as the next day from 4 to 7 p.m.
The pickup locations are downtown on Mondays in West Village, 605 W. Morgan St., Research Triangle Park, 800 Park Offices Drive, on Wednesdays, and in Old West Durham at Grey Stone Church, 2601 Hillsborough Road, on Fridays.
While Relay Foods has launched in Durham, it’s not the only business doing online-ordered sales of food here.
Bella Bean Organics is a local online farmer's market, offering home delivery service for locally grown, sustainable and organic produce, meats, eggs and specialty foods.
The company was acquired in 2012 by Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough, which grows, raises and sells produce, meat and eggs. That same year, Bella Bean absorbed an organic food delivery service, OrganicFood2You.
Recently, Bella Bean also announced the delivery of produce, eggs, meat, and specialty foods outside the region into other parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.
Jamie DeMent, the co-owner of Bella Bean Organics, said the online grocery store model is growing. She said people want the convenience of being able to place an order online and receive what they ordered at home.
There’s a growing network of providers of delivered produce, from Carolina Grown to Produce Box, she said, that all have different levels of sustainable produce. Bella Bean focuses on local and organically grown produce. Since she and her partner also own Coon Rock Farm, she said they’re distributors as well as producers.
“So we have a much closer, more personally trusted relationship with farmers and artisans,” she said. “We’re actual producers.”