Corner Supermarkets & Bodegas going Online!

Alex Inoa (Right) and Jorge Guillén (left), coordinators of the online supermarket, (Photo by José Acosta via El Diario/La Prensa)

Alex Inoa (Right) and Jorge Guillén (left), coordinators of the online supermarket, (Photo by José Acosta via El Diario/La Prensa)

If you happen to live in any one of the five boroughs of New York City or even around the city like in Long Island or New Jersey the one fixture of city life would have to be the convenience of a Bodega or corner supermarket.

Now, the convenience of Bodegas and corner supermarkets are becoming even more convenient by going online.

Over the past few years, the bodega and corner supermarket industry has generated about $3 billion a year. And the one Latino group to dominate the city supermarkets are Dominicans, who are leaping forward in their dominating quest.

In a bid to stay up-to-date with the advancements of technology and around the world the National Supermarket Association (NSA)–an organization consisting of 95% of the more than 400 business that exist in New York–are making their produce available online so their customers can shop through their shelves on the internet.

A year ago, was launched and consisted of 10 supermarkets from within the four boroughs of the city. The site was created by a group within the NSA, and it is funded by entrepreneur Anthony Espinal & Associates.

According to one of the site’s leaders and participants, Jorge Guillén, the manager of the Cherry Valley supermarket in West Hempstead, Long Island, the idea of was thought up after several group members noticed that customers were calling or emailing their orders in rather going to the stores themselves due to schedule conflicts or some other reason that kept them from physically going there.

These people were making orders over the phone or by email. Then we decided to create a webpage where people can access products and do their regular grocery shopping, and receive [their groceries] the same day in the comfort of their homes,” said Guillén.

The site is easy to manage, and according to Guillén the system allows customers to connect with one or several member supermarkets in the neighborhood where they can place their order.

The customer makes a user account, buys online like they do on Amazon or FreshDirect, chooses the hour and day that they want to receive their order, and the form of payment: cash, credit card, or debit card.

But unlike Amazon or FreshDirect delivery is free and according to Guillén, “We also accept EBT [electronic benefit transfer] cards for the items approved by this program.

The invention of the site geared towards helping neighborhood bodegas and corner supermarkets isn’t just convenient to the people within the neighborhood, but it also provides easier access for Latinos and other communities to access products these stores sells that other larger chains do not.

The advantage is that these supermarkets are in the same neighborhood as the customer. They sell cheaply, and have a wide variety of fresh, high-quality products for Latinos and other communities,” Guillén explained, “so far we’re receiving around 200 orders a week; they’re growing month after month, which makes us satisfied.

According to project coordinator of the site, Alex Inoa believes that will aide “unmet need in neighborhoods, where there are many disabled and elderly people, and homemakers who, after having two or three children, have difficulty leaving [the house] to go grocery shopping.

With the site generating successful transactions other supermarkets are jumping on the online bandwagon and taking up the user-friendly technology. For example, the Associated Supermarket located at 44-07 Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens has incorporated the site into their supermarket to give easy access to their customers.

The initiative to make the availability of bodegas and corner supermarkets even more available and accessible by creating an online community not only benefits the community around such places. The online grocery shopping system for these supermarkets provides convenient, affordable, and culturally recognizable shopping for people who do not have to rush to receive their produce but simply filling an digital shopping cart and hitting enter.

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