It was just over two years ago when the idea of grocery delivery service in San Antonio was suggested to me by my older sister, a school teacher and mother of two. She explained how people would benefit from a grocery delivery service and how a business like this had great potential to be successful in a growing city with limited competition.
Born and raised in San Antonio, I could relate to those that did not want to go grocery shopping for a variety of reasons – hot weather being one of them. But at the time I didn’t really give that idea much thought as I was focused on graduating college and pursing my dreams of becoming a dentist.
As the months passed this concept of delivering groceries continued to play in my mind, not for the sole intent of making a lot of money but for the purpose of contributing a much needed service to the community. It was May of 2013, my last year of graduate school, when I decided to follow through with my sister’s idea and started Grocery Runners (G-Runners).
With no experience in the business world, I faced many challenges with advertising, marketing, and generally struggling to attract a customer base. One of the most difficult obstacles I had to overcome was that of starting a small, unheard-of business while maintaining the responsibilities of a full-time graduate student at UTSA.
The few customers that started trying G-Runners told me their personal stories and appreciation – that’s where my determination for this business to succeed came from. They loved the idea and appreciated the service.
The convenience of getting off work with groceries waiting at the door began to attract many more customers. I started catering spouses with limited time, mothers with children, elderly with limited mobility, and many other individuals with varied circumstances. Their stories – how a mother had so much trouble taking her children grocery shopping, how a war veteran suffering from amputated limbs could not get to a grocery store, how an elderly woman had health conditions that made it almost impossible to go shopping for groceries – made me pursue grocery delivery full-time.
Testimonies from these customers, seen on our Facebook page and heard through word of mouth, explain how they regret not utilizing this service a long time ago.
G-Runners quickly spread throughout the city and surrounding areas including Helotes, Von Ormy, and Boerne. Witnessing firsthand the relieved facial expressions of our customers, I felt there was a way to further expand G-Runners’ services.
The first thought that came to mind was businesses. A great deal of privately-own businesses including restaurants, and catering services rely heavily on grocery products to keep their businesses running smoothly. These items were not being delivered, having to be picked up by employees during work, lunch, and odd hours of the day. We also started working with churches, child and adult daycare centers, and even schools.
G-Runners is currently a vendor for South San Antonio ISD, Harlandale ISD, Southwest ISD, and Northside ISD where our services are utilized in a variety of manners ranging from festivals to concession stands to STAAR testing snacks and beverages for elementary students.
Then an idea came to me as I had a military family, stationed in Germany, reach out to me in an effort to get specific items that they did not carry overseas. The mother of the family wanted to surprise her children with a box of Mexican candies. She told me how much it would mean if G-Runners could provide her children with a little taste of home.
G-Runners developed an online grocery store designed for individuals to put together care packages and have them shipped out to just about anywhere in the world. These care packages are primarily applied to military troops and families overseas but have also been used for college students. The store consists of 300 of the most common items found in care packages comprised of snacks, beverages, spices, Mexican candy, hygiene, and entertainment products.
The way it works is quite simple. A customer visits our store, selects the product they want by viewing a picture, and pays online. Items will be ready for shipping within 36 hours of when the order is placed. There is no need for the customer to ever set foot in a grocery store or a post office because we take care of gathering all the requested products as well as the shipping. The goal when creating this store was to revolutionized the way of sending care packages.
The best part of this was the rewarding feeling I felt when I observed the family enjoying their candies that I had sent from San Antonio. This simple act, sending candies to children that provided them with a reminder of home hit, me on a personal level. There’s no stopping now. G-Runners, which started off as a neighborhood grocery delivery service, has fulfilled expectations beyond my imagination by delivering groceries all over the world while maintaining its initial purpose of serving others.
*Featured/top image: With no means of transportation, Consuelo was shocked to see her groceries arrive at her doorstep after placing her order only three hours before with G-Runners. Photo courtesy of Ruben Herrera.
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