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Pawling Hannaford now delivers to Amenia, Wassaic, Dover, Wingdale

“Offering delivery to these communities has been a tremendous milestone for our store.” Jennifer Veronesi, Pawling store manager

AMENIA — Those living in rural communities admittedly face their challenges, but it is 2022, which means they also have a number of modern-day conveniences to enjoy, such as food delivery.

Take Instacart, which as of three weeks ago opened up a whole new world to the residents of Amenia, Wassaic, Dover and Wingdale.

That’s because Hannaford in Pawling has partnered with Instacart to now deliver groceries to those four communities — it’s among the 184 Hannaford stores that do so — which means residents in those towns and hamlets no longer need to rely solely on their otherwise rather limited shopping options.

Up until now, that basically consisted of a single physical grocery store in Amenia: Freshtown, at the Freshtown Plaza on Route 22.

In Wassaic, Dover and Wingdale, there are an assortment of local markets, stores, delis and other places to buy groceries and dry and assorted goods, but nothing that amounts to a true supermarket.

Of course, many residents in Amenia, Wassaic, Dover Plains and Wingdale — or anywhere within a 15-mile radius of Kent, Conn., order from the Davis IGA in that town. It has its own in-store delivery service and only charges a flat delivery fee of $10.98.

Deliveries are available to residents living within that boundary from Monday through Saturday between 1 and 5:30 p.m. Those who pick and deliver the groceries are actual employees of the IGA.

“Our delivery department is small but mighty… I’m proud of that, as you can imagine,” said co-owner Gary Davis. “Our parents started Davis IGA in 1974. Before the technology was developed for online ordering our customers emailed and called in orders. So the reality is that we have been delivering for at least 10 years.”

Davis operates the store with his sister, Audrey. He explained that when the pandemic hit “it was evident we needed to up our game.” That’s when the siblings created a brand-new delivery department.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we keep everything in-house, no third party is involved,” said Davis, noting his store upgraded its online shopping platform to an easy-to-use program offering its full inventory at www.shop.rosieapp.com/davis_iga. He added  deliveries aren’t made by strangers. “The customer knows who is delivering and when.”

What is Instacart?

Instacart, meanwhile, is a private American company that delivers groceries in the U.S. and Canada through its website and a mobile app. Those who deliver for Instacart are not actual store employees, explained Hannaford Spokesperson Erica Dodge.

“Hannaford partners with Instacart throughout our market, that includes our Pawling store,” said Dodge on Thursday, March 24. “Instacart has super shoppers at Hannaford, but Instacart is really a separate entity… Instacart is important to allow communities to have access and a convenient way to [get] our high-quality products.”

Access is a key point, as many living in the Amenia and Millerton area, about 14 miles north of Amenia, have complained about difficulties obtaining groceries.

Millerton feels the pain

The problem was compounded in the village of Millerton after it lost its sole grocery market in 2019, when the Millerton Fresh Market closed.

That was not long after the Grand Union vacated the same Millerton Square Plaza space in February of 2017. A revolving list of grocers has inhabited that 27,000-square foot plaza space. There has not been a grocery store in Millerton or the town of North East for three years now, and residents are getting impatient.

It’s an especially sore point considering the history: The North East Planning Board approved the Hannaford site plan for a brand new 36,000-square foot supermarket next to Thompson Plaza in the Boulevard District in 2013; however, two Article 78 lawsuits were filed (initiated by a Wassaic shopkeeper and backed by a Millerton resident; both were tossed out by the courts); around the same time, a ruling was passed by the Department of Justice that Hannaford had to make its footprint smaller in the Northeast rather than larger; Hannaford then merged with Stop & Shop in North Canaan, Conn.; the developer then withdraw the already-approved application.

The end result is that Millerton and North East are sans supermarket. Residents must now travel outside the community in a range of directions go grocery shopping in person.

Making matters worse is that many who live in the village don’t have their own transportation, making the everyday chore of buying groceries all the more difficult.

Hannaford a viable option

Pawling is about 25 miles from Amenia; now Instacart can save shoppers the trip, said Pawling Hannaford store manager Jennifer Veronesi.

“Offering delivery to these communities has been a tremendous milestone for our store,” she said. “Our customers have responded positively to this increased convenience.”

Veronesi said since the Pawling Hannaford just started its new delivery service to the Amenia/Dover area this month, it’s too soon to rate the program’s success, but she believes it will be a big hit.

Dodge agrees, especially in light of the COVID pandemic.

“We just know deliveries, especially at this time during pandemic, and I think shopping trends are moving in that direction as people are looking for increased convenience,” she said, “and one way to do that is through delivery.”

Millerton Hannaford?

When asked if there’s any possibility Hannaford might still be considering Millerton as a possible site to open a future grocery store, considering that residents in that community are still clamoring for the company to set up shop there, Dodge had this to say:

“That’s wonderful to hear; I’m happy to hear that people feel so fondly of Hannaford, but not to my knowledge.”

For more, go to www.hannaford.com, www.instacart.com or call 845-855-0553.

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