Hart’s Local Grocers to pilot program for online SNAP payments
by: Meaghan M. McDermott
Hart’s Local Grocers is one of seven retailers picked for a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program that will allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to buy groceries online.
“We were blown away to be selected, to be on that list and just one of seven retailers picked in the country,” said Colleen Griffin-Underhill, Hart’s general manager. She said the grocery store applied for consideration mainly due to the popularity of online shopping, and the company’s ongoing experience with online ordering, in-store pickup and delivery. “This felt like the right time, we felt we had the process under our belts and we wanted to grow our business.”
The online ordering pilot program includes national retailers Amazon, FreshDirect and Safeway, smaller chains ShopRite and Hy-Vee, the four-store Buffalo area chain Dash’s Market and Hart’s, which has its single store on Winthrop Street in Rochester’s East End. The pilot program will be offered in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and Iowa.
Griffin-Underhill said it is too early to say what the particulars of the pilot program at Hart’s would be, but it is likely that people would be able to make their online order, pay for eligible items with their SNAP card and use an alternative form of payment such as a debit card for non-SNAP eligible items and any delivery fees.
A conference with USDA is expected later this week.
“We hope to learn more about what this new partnership means,” she said. “We just want to make it work and make it easy for people.”
Hart’s has a five-mile delivery radius that encompasses most of the City of Rochester, stretching out to portions of Irondequoit, Brighton, Gates, Greece, Webster and Penfield. There is a $1.99 charge for in-store pickup, and Griffin-Underhill said delivery charges are typically between $4 and $8, depending on distance.