Farmstead, the online grocer that has been slowly but surely expanding its geographic footprint - growing from its original market in San Francisco to Miami, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Chicago - seems to have made a deal with the potential to kick its momentum into a higher gear.
Yesterday Farmstead said it has signed a deal with Alimentation Couche-Tard-owned Circle K, saying they together will "explore innovative supply chain, distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and marketing models."
This follows an announcement that Farmstead was teaming up with DoorDash to expand its availability over the long term.
According to the new announcement, "The (Circle K) partnership is expected to bring notable advancements to both parties’ operations," such as "opening up new formats for e-commerce fulfillment in U.S. suburbs using Farmstead’s Grocery OS tech stack and Circle K’s retail footprint … improving Farmstead’s national supply chain for non-perishables and convenience items … collaborating on distribution … (and) co-marketing across a variety of new projects."
As part of the deal, Circle K is making an equity investment in Farmstead via its Circle K Venture Fund.
"The convenience landscape is changing dramatically,” said Kevin Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer at Alimentation Couche-Tard, adding that "getting in on the ground floor on industry-leading new technology is a key element of Circle K’s innovation strategy as we continue to grow."
Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO at Farmstead, described the current moment as "the early innings of significant change in the U.S. food system," requiring "new supply and technological alliances."
- KC's View:
It is obviously way too early to judge this partnership a success, but the potential strikes me as enormous - and right in line with so much of what we talk about here on MNB.
The best way for any retail business to differentiate itself is to invest in the creation of new formats and models that, if they were created by someone else, would put the retailer out of business.
The best way for any retail business to sustain itself is through new partnerships - and yes, even "uncommon partnerships," to use a term we've been using a lot here lately - that can forge new ground and create new opportunities.
This isn't just about technology. It is about having a vision for tomorrow that doesn't just accept traditional definitions of about formats and segments and services. It is about defining oneself on one's own terms, always looking for ways to draw closer to the shopper.
It also is about putting your money where your mouth is.
We spoke with Farmstead's Pradeep Elankumaran in the early days of his company's development, and I have to say that I am impressed by what he's continued to build.