SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A big shift is taking place during the current virus crisis by The Berry Man to help thousands of people have access to fresh food without waiting in long store lines.
General Manager Les Clark says he saw many seniors lined up at a Costco and thought there had to be a better way, especially with all of his warehouses full of fresh, local produce.
"I've got employees, I've got trucks, we've got product, let's make this happen," said Clark.
He is now taking online orders for about 100 of his top items.
Customers can have the boxes delivered (with a minimum order) or they can pick up at the warehouse dock with a staff member doing the carryout. A look around the site this morning showed a solid supply of fruits, vegetables, dairy and a selection of desserts.
Clark expects most orders to include a variety pack of items that will last several days. "Order for a week, order for 12 days, call us back and order again. As we go along we will expand the list of items. They can get milk, cream, eggs, dried beans, dried rice, we have always sold a full line of vegetables, we sell them by the each, by the pound, so that you don't have to buy cases."
He also has a very big supply of toilet paper and will include a roll with each order, while they last.
A local meal prep company came by Thursday morning. Hunter Rusack with Quokka said, "It's been great that they have everything here while we go through all of this, just trying to keep up with demand."
The Berry Man also has warehouse sites in San Luis Obispo and Oxnard and is considering the same program there. Right now it is in the greater Santa Barbara area. The footprint also extends into Los Angeles County.
"The Berry Man is not a one-man show in a station wagon anymore; 240 employees and 90 vehicles up and down the coast. We can make a big impact."
On the side of The Berry Many trucks, the slogan "Stay healthy, eat more fruits and vegetables" now also includes "and wash your hands."
For more information go to: The Berry Man
(More details and video will be added here later today).