business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Thanks to Phil Lempert over at Supermarket Guru, who has brought our attention to Farmhouse Market in New Prague, Minnesota, a 24-hour supermarket that is manned with a cashier only nine hours a week. It is an almost entirely self-service store, allowing customers to shop anytime and then check themselves out using an iPad. There is a $99 fee to become a "member" of Farmhouse Market, and there are only video cameras to make sure customers are being honest.

The concept is similar to one being tested in Sweden, where a self-service convenience store has been opened - customers actually use a mobile app to unlock the front door, and to pay for their purchases.

The Good website suggests that the notion of a self-service supermarket is a "funny hybrid of small-town homeyness and modern tech disruption," using modern technology to create the kind of trust that used to exist - or we thought existed - in a kind of Norman Rockwell-style America. And it offers the potential of the kind of disruption that could be a game changer in select markets, especially so-called "food deserts" where it is hard to make a supermarket profitable.

It is an interesting idea probably is ripe for a variety of iterations ... and certainly an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: