Owners of Baltimore-based Santoni’s Supermarket launched East Baltimore’s first “Grocery Store Shuttle Service” on Monday, April 1.
Santoni’s CFO Rob Santoni Jr. notes that, while multiple grocery stores including Santoni’s offer a delivery service, “there’s no substitute for actually coming in to the store and touching and feeling what you get.
The shuttle will serve areas of low-vehicle ownership and food deserts—areas without nearby healthy eating options.
“It services under-served communities within food desert boundaries,” says Santoni, adding that the shuttle does not pick up individual residents on an on-call basis, but stops at certain senior citizen independent living facilities and areas of lower-income housing.
There is currently one shuttle, but Santoni’s has plans to expand to three in the next two years. The current shuttle makes 36 stops per week and carries about 468 riders.
“If they’re able to spend $20 less on round-trip transportation, then that money goes back into their food budgets, and they can buy healthier foods,” Santoni said.
by Erik Zygmont