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Delivery service Instacart ready to serve many Spokane area households

Mon., Sept. 11, 2017, 4:46 p.m.

Carts are returned from the parking lot at a Spokane-area Albertson’s on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Starting Tuesday, many Spokane-area residents can have groceries delivered to their front door from four area grocers and a pet store via Instacart: Albertson’s, Costco, Fred Meyer, Natural Grocers and Petco. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Carts are returned from the parking lot at a Spokane-area Albertson’s on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Starting Tuesday, many Spokane-area residents can have groceries delivered to their front door from four area grocers and a pet store via Instacart: Albertson’s, Costco, Fred Meyer, Natural Grocers and Petco. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Take that, Amazon and Whole Foods.

Starting Tuesday, Spokane area residents can have groceries delivered to their front door in about an hour from four grocers and a pet store.

San Francisco-based Instacart is rapidly expanding nationwide. The company currently operates in 115 markets, but on Tuesday, it will add seven more, including Spokane, Wichita, Eugene, Fresno and Reno, among others. The company plans to serve 80 percent of the U.S. by 2018.

For orders more than $35, the delivery fee is $5.99. The company also has a service it calls Instacart Express, which costs $14.99 a month or $149 a year and promises one-hour delivery on deliveries of more than $35. Not all groceries cost the same as they do in the store, and the company does mark up the prices for some retailers. Its drivers are contract workers much like those for Uber and Lyft.

In Spokane, the company will take orders from Albertsons, Costco, Fred Meyer, Natural Grocers and Petco.

The national push by Instacart follows closely on the heels of Amazon’s purchase of organic food giant, Whole Foods, which was seen as sign that the $800 billion grocery market would see vast change. Considering Amazon’s primacy in online delivery service, including the AmazonFresh grocery service, home delivery of Whole Foods grocery items seemed like a logical step for the company.

AmazonFresh costs $14.99 a month for members of its Amazon Prime service.

Other grocery stores are attempting various versions of internet commerce. Walmart has online ordering and grocery pickup at many of its 4,500 stores. The service is free, but customers must order at least $30 worth of groceries.

Last year, Rosauers Supermarkets set up a delivery service for the entire Spokane region from three of its local stores: on the South Hill, on North Division and in Spokane Valley. It charges a $7.95 delivery fee, plus the cost of groceries.

Take Out Deliveries started early this year in Spokane. Though it focuses on restaurant orders, its owners said they’ll deliver anything, including groceries.

Other online grocery delivery services include Peapod and Fresh Direct, but neither operate in Spokane. Webvan, an early adopter of online grocer delivery, went bankrupt in 2001.

Instacart operates in 38 states and Washington, D.C. It currently serves the Puget Sound region and Boise metro area.

The company’s local delivery area will cover over 138,000 households in Spokane, Spokane Valley and many surrounding towns.

Visit instacart.com to learn more.