So Long Simon Delivers

By Chris Josephes
July 16, 2008 | Comments: 4

After nine years, online grocer Simon Delivers is shutting down operations in two weeks.

Simon Delivers was a Twin Cities icon during the first dot-com boom. It wasn't exactly AltaVista, but it was a success story that helped establish Minneapolis and St. Paul as a high technology hub in the Midwest. If you were a cool web developer in the industry, you always mentioned Simon Delivers in the same breath as Twin Cities Sidewalk, Techies.com, PioneerPlanet, or Channel4000. You probably did this while sitting in the Cyber-X cyber-cafe on Lake and Lyndale, and reminiscing talking about the great Minnesota network outage of 1995.

Long after the bust, SimonDelivers was still standing. They received a lot of praise for maintaining a reasonable rate of growth, in contrast to WebVan, who crashed and burned from over-expansion. You couldn't walk two blocks in a trendy neighborhood without seeing a Simon Delivers crate at the front door of someone's house. They had no competition until local grocer Lunds offered online shopping and delivery, years after Simon built their foothold.

They had loyal customers, good employees, and steady sales; something that every company dreams of having. Unfortunately, they also had to deal with the rising costs of food and fuel coupled with a lack of outside capital investment. Simon Delivers couldn't build up their customer base to a sustainable level. Unlike tighter metro areas like Manhattan or San Francisco, people in the Twin Cities are more accustomed to driving out for goods and services. If a consumer could buy a frozen pizza while they were shopping for clothes in a SuperTarget, then the convenience of home delivery all but disappeared.

So long, Simon. For what it's worth, you held out longer than the other guys, and you did manage to make your mark on history during the dot-com boom.


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4 Comments

I am a mother of 6 small children and have been a Simon Delivers customer for about 7 years. When I received this email I went through the roof!

Now, a task that took me about 5 minutes will take me over 2 hours and that is if I don’t take the kids - and I had gotten my grocery shopping bill down to a reasonable level by using SD - no impulse shopping - just what we needed.

It is sad that over 300 people will lose their jobs - only making the economic problems that we face worse for them. And that the “best online grocery delivery company in the country” is now out of business - it is a crying shame!

I use Gopher Grocery and I love them! I used to use Simon Delivers, but I switched to Gopher Grocery because their prices are more reasonable, and they only charge $2 for delivery. Plus, they have a much better selection that Simon did on most stuff, especially non-food items (like shampoo, paper towels, etc.). I would strongly recommend Gopher Grocery to those Simon customers who are looking for a replacement.

Another option is to hire an errand/concierge service like mine... Twin Cities Errands. Not only can we get the groceries, but on the way to your house, we can knock out other things on your to-do list. Check out my website or others similar to mine in the Twin Cities. http://www.twincitieserrands.com

we run a dvd delivery service and have found that the high gas prices have only helped us because less people want to drive. i think there is a lot more to this simon delivers story than what is being told...
also, when i lived in the twin cities, they would never deliver to us because we lived in an apartment building (lake harriet area). at least, thats the excuse they gave us.

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