Shopping service ‘Instacart’ coming to the Rogue Valley

MEDFORD, Ore. – A new company is coming to the Rogue Valley and they’re looking to hire 100 people. But even if you’re not looking for a job, it’s goal is to make your life easier.

Julia Schwartz was out shopping Thursday. But there was a time she couldn’t leave the house. “I hurt my hip and I couldn’t go to the market for a couple weeks, and it was really hard,” she explained.

That left her husband in charge of the grocery list, which Schwartz said didn’t quite work out. She laughed, “It’s easier if I can do the shopping so a personal shopper might be a good thing.”

A similar service is making its way to Medford. Beginning March 7, Instacart will be available in the Rogue Valley.

“We’re expanding to new markets basically on a weekly basis,” explained Pacific Northwest Operations Manager Melissa Tran. The company’s goal is to take a chore off your to-do list.

“This is a really, really great service for people who are either too busy in their day to day lives to go and grab their groceries, or maybe even physically unable to do so,” Tran said.

Here’s how it works: You plug in your zip code on the company’s website to see the stores you can choose from. In Medford, Costco, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Natural Grocers, Cash and Carry and PetCo are all participating.

“If you’ve ever done any sort of online shopping, it’ll be very very, very similar to that particular process, so you go to our website, you’ll click on any of the items that you want to add to your order,” Tran said. “And then at the very end, you’ll just click check out, and you’ll put in whatever method of payment that you have.”

As for the shoppers, they get the list sent to their phones complete with any specifications the customer makes. Tran used banana bread as an example: “You can include in those special instructions, directly on those bananas, letting the shopper know, make sure you get the brownest, ripest bananas you can find.”

Tran said the shoppers are screened including a background check before they can work. And if you’re interested, the company is hiring now. “We are aiming for 100 full-service shoppers,” Tran said. All of them are getting ready to hit store aisles next week.

Orders must be $10 or more. The delivery fee depends on the size of your order and the delivery time you choose. Subscription plans are also available.

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