Grocer still going the extra mile

How did people ever get their grocery shopping done years ago, when there weren’t two cars crowding every driveway – ready to take shoppers to market?

The IGA supermarket on Pape Avenue in East York still practises a long-lost tradition. This particular IGA has never even had a parking lot … but it makes up for it with a longstanding delivery service.

Store manager Tony Pavlou says he currently has three drivers, who deliver groceries to about 600 shoppers every week, for the price of $4.75 per delivery.

It still costs the store almost $40,000 each year.

“It’s costly but… it pays off because we get customers. We’re a busy store, so they come and shop here.”

And Pavlou says the amount of money it costs the store to do home deliveries is comparable to the amount of taxes and maintenance fees that other stores have to pay for their parking lots.

“We see this as a service to the customer; and also, the other big stores that have parking lots, they have to pay taxes and maintenance on their parking lots. It costs them probably $60-80,000 for those.”

John Psiharin, who has availed himself of Pape IGA’s delivery service for the last four years, thinks that it’s cheaper than having to pay for a taxi from the supermarket to his home.

“I would still shop here if they didn’t deliver,” he says. “The people are nice and I like the barbecue chicken.”

From an environmental perspective, the store promotes less pollution by encouraging all of those shoppers to leave their cars at home.

Michael Eddenden, 53, has been shopping at the IGA for about 10 years. He also believes that the fact people aren’t doing a lot of driving to the store to pick up their groceries, in turn, does the environment a favour.

“If they’re coming here to shop instead of driving across town, then the environment definitely directly benefits from that,” he said.