Another digital brand is coming around to the power of a physical space.
On Thursday, direct-to-consumer, packaged foods brand Hungryroot opened its first brick-and-mortar location in the Flatiron neighborhood of New York City. The brand is calling the space a convenience store, and this new shop further exemplifies how fluid the definition is.
The store sells many of the company’s 100 SKUs such as fresh-cut vegetables, pastas, sauces, and sweets. Walls are lined with refrigerated cases and shelves filled with the brand's boldly designed packaged products. Hungryroot partnered with Stumptown Coffee, Salt & Straw ice cream, Elmhurst plant-based milk and other like-minded companies in order to meet consumers’ convenience needs.
Hungryroot executives imagine shoppers coming in for an oat cup for breakfast, a soup or salad for lunch and picking up groceries after work. Many of the brand's products take minimal effort in order to make a healthy dinner.
This space has all the trappings of the new-format convenience stores as seen with new brands like The Goods Mart, based in Los Angeles, and Bridges General, based in New York. The space is brightly painted, well-lit and welcoming. The Hungryroot logo adds to the modern design.
The store is technically a pop-up, with plans to stay open until late June. But as Mollie Chen, the VP of brand customer experience, explained, the company is considering more retail locations. The company looks at brick-and-mortar as a way to test new products and get customer feedback in real time. Customers of the brand are loyal and vocal, Chen said.
According to the company, Hungryroot sales grew 800% to over $30 million in 2018, while increasing year-over-year customer retention by 33%. Hungryroot was founded in 2015 and is traditionally sold online and delivered directly to customers. The company prides itself on taking out the middleman in the packaged food industry.
This piece originally appeared on Restaurant Hospitality, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for resources for independent restaurant operators.