The grocery store… by car

To give a helping hand to people and to face the COVID-19 crisis, the company Fruits et vegetables de l’Estrie (FLE) is reinventing itself and launching an original car grocery service.
“It helps people get food safely without having to set foot in big box stores. And that allows many of my employees to keep their jobs, ”underlines Antoine Latendresse.

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With Michel Roberge, he is co-owner of the distribution company which usually serves day-care centers, schools, restaurants and residences for the elderly.

Since the closure of educational and child care establishments, and with the restaurant industry slowing down even before the government-ordered dining hall closings on Sunday, the number of customers of the food wholesaler has dropped drastically.

“We went from around 500 customers to around 30. Last Thursday, seeing everything that was going on, we said that we could be creative and give a helping hand to the population by offering a service adapted to the situation, ”explains Mr. Latendresse.

This service, designed and set up in record time, allows people to do their grocery shopping by phone. Payment is made by credit card when ordering. This is then prepared by FLE within approximately three hours. Customers pick up their groceries directly from the warehouse, without having to get out of their car.

“We verify the identity of the person and deposit the boxes with his name in his car trunk. It’s a way of doing things that appeals to customers because they can get fresh produce by avoiding queues and reducing the risk of being in contact with the virus. Internally, we take precautions when handling goods and wash our hands regularly, ”says Mr. Latendresse.


EVERYTHING, IN GOOD QUANTITIES

Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, various canned products, basic ingredients (rice, oil, cereals, flour, bread, pasta, sugar, etc.), meats, dairy products, juice, vegetable drinks: the inventory of available foods is wide and varied.

“We have 19,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse. We can supply in large quantities as on a smaller scale. If you want a dozen lemons, we have that. If you prefer to buy only one, we also sell individually, ”says Mr. Latendresse.

About 130 orders have been placed since the end of last week.

“I am really impressed with the response from people. And I’m happy to be able to help on my scale. It is through gestures of mutual aid in our community that we will be better off collectively, ”expresses the one who favors purchasing from regional suppliers.

“I take pride in getting as much local produce as possible. The meat we sell, for example, comes from the Beef Face butcher shop. It is hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat. Our breads are those of Georges bakery. And we have a range of La Chaudière cheeses. ”

A list of products is online on the company’s Facebook page, located on rue Joseph-Robertson, in the Rock Forest borough. Because the prices of fruits and vegetables fluctuate on the market, it will be updated on Monday and Thursday. Information: 819 823-8817.

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