Groceries in minutes? Gopuff brings promise to Grand Rapids area

Kent County

An Aug. 2, 2021 photo shows the former Family Video store at 5255 Eastern Ave. SE in Kentwood.

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A shuttered Family Video store in Kentwood may soon be the next hub for grocery delivery within minutes.

Gopuff, which runs a micro-fulfillment and delivery service, plans to renovate the former Family Video store at 5255 Eastern Ave. SE near 52nd Street, which closed months ago.

A building permit application that GPR Kentwood goPuff submitted to the city last week shows the group is planning a $30,000 interior update, including adding partitions, fixtures, new finishes, a new drinking fountain and the associated electrical and plumbing work. Project drawings News 8 obtained from the city via a Freedom of Information Act request also include installing a walk-in cooler.

A company spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the plans, but a job opening listed on Gopuff’s website hints to what is coming. The posting for operations associate lists the former Family Video address and states the role is for a “new launch.” The new employee will handle “picking, packing, receiving product, and interacting with our partner drivers,” the post states.

Gopuff is hiring for the same role in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, which are also listed as new launches on the company website. However, an address for those new locations is not disclosed.

Gopuff is able to trim its delivery time to minutes by setting up micro-fulfillment centers within neighborhoods. Each micro-fulfillment center holds about 3,000 items, from food and drinks and over-the-counter medications to home, baby and pet essentials. A customer orders online, then Gopuff workers put together their order and deliver it directly to their home for a flat fee of $1.95 each time.

(An Aug. 2, 2021 photo shows the former Family Video store at 5255 Eastern Ave. SE in Kentwood.)

A pair of college students from Philadelphia’s Drexel University launched Gopuff from the back of their minivan seven years ago, according to the company website. Since then, the delivery service has expanded to more than 650 places, including Portage and 20 other communities in the Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit areas.

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