Why We're Going Digital (Sort Of)
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
As Homestead Meats introduces online ordering and local delivery through Mercato, we share our thoughts about the future of grocery shopping and our love of face-to-face interaction.
If you know me, you’re aware that I’m the last person who would ever purchase food through an app. I like to conduct business the old-fashioned way. I prefer face-to-face interaction. In fact, my idea of the perfect shopping environment is a farmers market, where I can see the products in front of me and talk about them with the person who knows them best. I see Homestead Meats as a year-round farmers market.
I’m the guy who will call you in response to a text whenever the answer is more than a handful of words. If you send a meat order via email, my first instinct is to ask you to call the shop—I want to make sure I understand what you need and you understand exactly what we can provide.
When Mercato®, a service that provides online ordering and delivery, invited Homestead Meats to participate, I wasn’t immediately ready to jump in. My research showed that it was a well-run company with a mission that fits with our own (very committed to small, independent businesses that stress quality). At the same time, I like being closely involved with our community and had some doubts that this was the right path for us.
But then, two things happened. First, we expanded our hours to include Sundays. We received plenty of positive feedback, but it often included references to the busy lives of our customers and the difficulty of coming to the shop as often as they would like. Second, Amazon acquired Whole Foods. Amazon has a tendency to radically transform our expectations— first the price of books, then the breadth of inventory on retail showrooms, and now the amount of time we’ll wait for items to be delivered.
It’s not hard to come up with examples of how online services and mobile apps have changed the way we live. For many, it has been years since they have “called a cab”. We no longer rely on the local TV news to get the weather forecast or keep a stash of CDs in our cars. We don’t buy plane tickets through travel agencies and we don’t visit the bank to check our balances (okay, I do—but as I mentioned, I’m old-fashioned). If Amazon thinks that online ordering is the future of grocery shopping, I’m not going to bet against them.
That’s not to say that Homestead Meats will change its community focus. Our very first priority will always be the customer standing in front of us and we love providing education on cuts, preparation, sustainability, etc. But if the ability to click buttons and get items delivered to your door makes your life easier, now we’ll offer that option, too.
We hope you enjoy this new service as we roll it out (we'll start with select items and expand over time). Be sure to keep us posted with your feedback.
Homestead Meats is Evanston’s first locally sourced butcher shop, handcrafting unique fresh meats, deli meats, sausages, and other charcuterie. All fresh meats and eggs are sourced from family-owned Midwestern farms that raise their livestock in open pastures, without hormones or GMO feed.