Grocery delivery expands in Ithaca with Wegmans, CVS, and…

Grocery delivery isn’t new to the Ithaca area, but it makes a big expansion this week with delivery service beginning Tuesday from Wegmans and CVS. An Instacart representative says the company “plans to bring on more than 100 new shoppers” to provide the service.

Wegmans in Ithaca’s southwest. 14850 file photo.

Instacart delivery expanded into Western New York and Central New York earlier this year, with service in Binghamton beginning just last month, focusing primarily on Wegmans supermarkets.

Wegmans vice president of e-commerce Helen Pawlowski says of Instacart, “Together we’re able to provide our customers a seamless shopping experience with the quality and service they’ve come to expect from Wegmans, without leaving their house.”

“The reception for Instacart in Central and Western New York has been outstanding,” says Instacart general manager Walker Dieckmann, who adds that the company is adding ZIP Codes to Rochester and Syracuse coverage this week “in response to customer demand.”

Andrea Toch says Ithaca’s delivery area “will cover over 28,000 households” in the Ithaca area, including Newfield, Cayuga Heights, Enfield, Caroline, Brooktondale, Varna, and “northwest Ithaca,” though the service isn’t covering Trumansburg at this time. Toch listed Lansing as one of the covered areas, but confirmed to us on Tuesday that only the Village of Lansing, with ZIP Code 14850, is in the service area. The Town of Lansing is not covered at this time. The company says ZIP Codes 14817, 14850, 14867, and 14853 are covered.

Ithaca area shoppers have had grocery service for about four years, with P&C Fresh on Ithaca’s east hill and Shur-Save in Trumansburg both providing the service to their shoppers through Rosie.

Ithaca’s newly renovated Aldi Food Market. Photo by Joe Scaglione III.

Toch declined to say whether Instacart service in Ithaca would also cover Aldi shoppers. Aldi and Instacart have already partnered in other areas, notably on the west coast. Ithaca’s Aldi store, off Route 13 near the Ithaca Farmers Market, reopened this month after a major renovation. “We hope to add additional partners soon,” hints Dieckmann.

Instacart pricing doesn’t necessarily match the price you’d get in the supermarket, and the company specifically says, “We don’t honor in-store discounts,” or accept store or manufacturer coupons, though they often have their own “sales” and online coupons. Wegmans says entering your Shoppers Club Card number will offer some in-store specials. “When there are higher prices,” Dieckmann says, “it is clearly marked so customers can make an educated decision.”

The company often charges higher prices than the in-store price “to cover the cost of the Instacart service,” though there’s also a service fee (10% of your order by default, though the company says this is “optional”) and a delivery fee of $5.99 or more that can vary depending on how busy the service is at that time, just as Uber has “surge pricing” and Lyft has “prime time” pricing. Instacart shoppers and drivers are paid a commission based on the total price of orders, but don’t receive the service fee directly. Tips are separate, and are given directly to your shopper or driver.

Frequent users can get unlimited free deliveries, and avoid “busy pricing” surcharges, by subscribing to Instacart Express for $79 per year.

Ready to order? Visit www.instacart.com and enter your ZIP Code to see which stores serve your home or workplace, or download the Instacart app for iOS or Android. First-time users can get free delivery and $20 off an order of $35 or more with the code “HIITHACA” until January 1st.

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