The rising demand for grocery delivery during coronavirus has revived a largely forgotten occupation: the milkman.
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The largely-gone business model of milkmen making door-to-door dairy deliveries has made a comeback as the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders have forced people to stay indoors and rely on grocery drop-offs. However, the old/new business is getting a modern update to its services.
Family-owned Wade’s Dairy in Bridgeport, Conn., which canceled its milk delivery service in 1992 due to a lack of consumer interest, has started up again with options for milk, egg, cheese and yogurt doorstep delivery for a $10 flat fee, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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Dairy delivery has seen a boom in requests since the COVID-19 crisis hit.
The reopening has been a huge success, Doug Wade Jr., president of Wade’s Dairy, told the outlet, confirming that more than 250 people in 25 towns have signed up for the service. He said the new venture is pulling in $10,000 in sales a week, though he’s had to get creative with the ordering options.
“Cow’s milk is kind of a black eye out there,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the tide will turn one day and people will say, ‘Why am I spending so much money on oat milk?’”
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Wade invested in a 14-foot truck after the business was relaunched just to meet the demand of his customers.
Despite the increase in demand for the dairy home drop-off, Wade did note to the Journal that his business is down overall, with restaurants and theme parks not making soft-serve ice cream mixes as they usually would this time of year. He has also been left with $75,000 in half-pints of milk that would have otherwise been sold to schools in the area.
Meanwhile, Wade is playing it by ear, meeting customer demand wherever it comes from. And demand for delivery is booming.
A study released by ShopperKit showed 31 percent of U.S. households bought groceries online in March, when lockdown orders were first instituted. Compared with a 2019 survey by Brick Meets Click, that’s up more than 145 percent. Instacart added 300,000 new employees as people across the country began turning to the app for grocery delivery.
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In Central Pennsylvania, a delivery company named Doorstep Dairy has seen a boom in requests for its goods since the COVID-19 crisis hit.
“The demand for home delivery, we were not prepared for it,” Daryl Mast, owner of Doorstep Dairy, told Fox 43. “Within a week’s time, our home delivery started to grow.
“We’re able to move more of [local farm’s] product now than ever before,” Mast said.
Like Wade, Mast also acknowledged to the outlet that there a hint of nostalgia involved in the operation, reminiscing about stories about the “milkman when they were a kid.”