Over on Lanai a couple week ago I discovered a new program that Whole Foods Market Kahului was promoting. The store’s plan is to take their groceries to Lanai residents for $49.95 on the Expeditions Ferry. Given the small population on the island, Lanai grocery markets are very small and can only offer so much. For residents with special dietary needs or those who would simply like more grocery options, Whole Foods Market delivery is a huge step forward.
“Whole Foods Market is proud to offer the best in locally grown and produced ingredients and products,” says Elyse Ditzel, marketing director for Whole Foods Market Kahului. “The quality and variety that is available in-store is hard to beat. We are especially excited to be able to offer not only locally grown produce from more than 75 farms throughout Hawaii but also provide foodstuffs for customers with any dietary restrictions including gluten free options, soy free, nut free and even vegetarian and vegan desserts.”
Pretty much all you need is the Internet to browse their 10-page list of what the Maui store offers. But if you lack connectivity, the store will mail you a catalog. Then you simply call or email in your grocery list.
Then an employee at the market in Kahului does all the shopping. After packing your groceries in ice and cooler bags, the employee puts them on the 3:15 pm ferry, which means Lanai residents have to show up at 4pm and pick up their items. Whole Foods is also working on putting in place a similar system for Molokai. Of course, this plan is only up and running a few days a week–the first and third Tuesdays of each month, to be exact.
“Our understanding is that there are other companies providing a similar delivery service but are unable to beat the quality of product from our store as well as our prices,” says Ditzel. “The fees we have seen from other companies average around $250 and up in comparison to our flat $49.99 fee. Also with Whole Foods Market, there is no minimum or maximum order required. We are more than happy to do all of the leg work and bring delicious, fresh ingredients to the people of Lanai.”
What’s more, you don’t have to know any name brands. Whole Foods will suggest easy and simple substitutions for brands or value items in whatever category you’re shopping. Carol Collier is in charge of the market’s Personal Shopping and Concierge, and can walk customers through their shopping via email or over the phone. After sending in their grocery lists, all customers will receive a follow-up phone call to approve final costs and delivery time. The products purchased are paid for via credit card over the phone.
“We recently ferried over several potentially interested Lanai residents to visit our store for a special store tour and lunch,” explains Ditzel. “We plan to offer another special tour and visit to Lanai residents to our store in the near future. Anyone interested in participating as our guests should email Carol at [email protected] or call the store at 808-872-3310. We also offer a general overview of items available online for customers to review in an effort to become more familiar with our brands and types of foods offered. However, the list is not exhaustive and if there is any particular item that is not listed we very often can place a special order for that customer.”
Whole Foods also offers their personal shopper and concierge services to Maui residents. You can either choose to have them shop your list and pick it up yourself for a service fee of $15, or you can opt to have them deliver it to your home (delivery costs for that service vary). Prepared foods like pizza and deli items can be ordered as well. But don’t expect alcohol delivery anytime soon–their great selection of beer, wine and distilled beverages are only available to those who pick up their purchase in person with ID in hand at the Kahului location.
Whole foods list of products: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/sites/default/files/media/Maui%20Provisioning_0.pdf
About Jen Russo
I write lifestyle and culinary columns for MauiTime. I love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui and Hawaii specialist.