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Court Square resident launches online grocery delivery service

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Dec. 9, 2014 By Michael Florio

A new online grocery delivery service has just begun serving Long Island City residents.

PickUpLater, an online company that was created by a Court Square resident, started taking grocery orders at the end of last month.

The company, founded by Kodjo Hounnake, has partnered with Foodcellar, the well known Long Island City grocery store located at 4-85 47th Road.

Foodcellar is the only supermarket the company does business with yet; however, it plans to develop relationships with other stores in the borough.

The PickUpLater site allows residents to pick a grocery store (currently just Foodcellar) and then select the items they want. The items listed are comprehensive—from fish to fruits and vegetables.

Kodjo Hounnake

Kodjo Hounnake

The PickUpLater service will then do the shopping on behalf of customers and drop them off at their door.

The company provides shoppers with three different options: they can pick up their order at the store for 99 cents; have it delivered within two hours for $5.99; or get it dropped off after two hours for $3.99.

The company makes its money by charging about 10 percent extra on the price of each item than what Foodcellar would charge at the store.

Hounnake said the company is devoted to customer service.

The personal shopper, he said, will remain in contact with the customer during the entire process. For instance, if a customer wants an item that is not available, the personal shopper will ask the customer if he/she wants something else. Once the order is complete, the shopper will let their customers know that he/she is on the way to their apartment.

Foodcellar is opening a second location at 43-18 Crescent Street next year, and that store is interested in partnering up with PickUpLater, according to Hounnake.

Hounnake said he is in discussions with other grocery stores in the wider LIC neighborhood, but would not disclose which ones.

“We want to offer our services with Foodcellar for the next few months and do it right,” he said. “Then we will start considering other stores.”

Hounnake said he did not market the site when it went live since he wanted to take care of any kinks.

“We wanted time to find and fix any bugs on the website,” he said. “We prefer one or two people to run into a problem on the site, rather than hundreds running into problems at the same time.”

Hounnake said that the service is bug free and that the company is now marketing it.

He said fliers will be handed out in the evenings to those exiting the subway.

Foodcellar has also promoted it through its social media accounts, on its website and through signs in its store.

“We are expecting orders to increase the back end of next week,” he said.

Hounnake, who has lived in LIC since 2009 and claims to be the first resident of the Vere building, was inspired to create the site after ordering food on GrubHub last October.

“It just hit me, why don’t we have a similar service like this for our groceries,” he said.

However, he is not without competition.

Instacart, a similar grocery delivery service, expanded into Western Queens in August. Hounnake said PickUpLater will differentiate itself from Instacart and other competitors by focusing on local, mid-market stores.

“Instacart focuses on larger, chain grocery stores, such as Costco and Fairway,” he said. “At this point we are not reaching out to those stores. We want local stores.”

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