As grocery stores struggle to stock empty shelves and customers find it increasingly difficult to get their items delivered during the coronavirus epidemic, Hunts Point-based wholesale food distributor Baldor Specialty Foods is doing something it’s never done before — offering its inventory to everyone.
Typically, Baldor’s trucks can be seen unloading boxes of food to restaurants and other businesses around New York City. A major wholesaler for the whole East Coast, Baldor has seen an 85% drop in food service sales due to restrictions on restaurants and other establishments to slow the spread of coronavirus. In need of a fresh approach to offset some of the drop in sales, Baldor is allowing individuals to shop on its website.
Ben Walker, vice president of sales and marketing at Baldor Specialty Foods, said the pivot is an outcome of the company’s values.
“In this case it means getting everybody food in spite of the shortages we have been experiencing in grocery stores,” he said.
For the first time in the company’s 28-year existence, anyone within a 50-mile radius of its Hunts Point headquarters can go to their website and place an order. Customers’ orders must be at least $250, with tax and delivery included, and can expect delivery the next day.
Walker expects the direct-to-consumer sales will be temporary and the company will return to wholesale once the businesses the firm serves are able to once again open their doors to customers.
Previously, the company’s non-wholesale offerings were limited to Urban Roots, its retail level brand. That business has grown from 12% to 65% of the company’s business since restrictions were put in place.