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Feb 10, 2012 08:25 AM

Grocery Delivery, Minneapolis or St. Paul?

Has anyone tried any of the grocery services? Coborns, Lunds/Byerlys??? Does anyone else deliver? Any of the co-ops, for instance? (I would LOVE to get delivery from Seward or Mississippi Market or the Wedge, for instance...)

What has your experience been re: the quality of the food and service?

I'm just in a super time crunch right now and I'm wondering if I can free up some free time with grocery delivery services.

Thank you for your thoughts!


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  1. Coborns is good. The quality is good, the meats are better than the average grocery meat, the veggies are always fresh (and rated as to how fresh they are), and if they're out of something, they automatically replace it with a free similar substitute. I use them as my main grocery now, only making trips to Lunds for oddball things that noone else carries.

    3 Replies
    1. re: shadowfax

      I used Coborns (the former Simon Delivers) for quite a while. It's great as a time-saver, and it's economical if you do serious menu planning and buy large enough orders. We used to call them the "grocery fairies" because you'd almost never see them come and go. All of a sudden, there'd be a stack of green coolers outside your door...

      1. re: Jordan

        Oh, that's an interesting point about Coborns Delivers...that they'll apparently deliver when you're not home. Byerly's requires you to be home.


      2. re: shadowfax

        Do they have a decent selection of organics and/or humanely-raised meats and poultry, or is that not really part of their deal? I see they offer a selection of "locally" produced goods, which is appealing.


      3. I used Byerly's/Lunds a few years ago when I didn't have a car, and liked it. It's just like shopping at the store, except you don't get the full choice (speciality items not on the web; limited deli choices, etc.). They do have some organic produce, but not like the co-ops

        I liked that I could specify whether a substition was ok, and LOVED that I could include a note and they'd do their best to follow it. For example, I'm a bit OCD about my tissue boxes; I added a note saying, "no green, orange, or flower patterns, please" - AND THEY DID IT!

        But since I mostly shop at Seward, the delivery fee for Byerly's just wasn't worth it for me.

        Speaking of delivery from the co-ops, I sense a business opportunity between the hybrid hour-cars and an enterprising web developer...

        1. I used Coburns in 2010 for twelve weeks when I was housebound with a broken leg. They were accurate with their order (always including extra sample things), the delivery guys would come all the way into my kitchen with my stuff when they realized I couldn't walk/carry anything myself, and I was overall really happy with the experience. Some of their prepared meals were really good. And bonus that they will delivery alcohol if you're 21 and home. I also found a coupon through retailmenot or its ilk for 12 weeks of free delivery, which saved me some real money.

          The downside for me was how terrible most of the fruit was -- often there wasn't any of the best quality rated stuff available, even though it was July and should have been peak season. What I did get was fine looking, just not very tasty. The very first place I went when I got permission to drive again was to Seward to get real fruit.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jaycooke

            Oh no. That's a bummer to hear about the fruit! I found the same coupon on retailmenot and it does make Coborns more price competitive than Lunds/Byerlys. Also, I do like that Coborns has Thousand Hills Cattle beef and Kadejan chickens. Hmmm...but lousy fruit is distressing.

            Seward does have awesome winter fruit.


            1. re: jaycooke

              You mentioned the delivery guys. What's the tipping protocol for home delivery?

              1. re: BatMan

                Coborns does not allow its drivers to accept tips.

                1. re: shadowfax

                  Neither does Lunds/Byerly's, according to their website.


                2. re: BatMan

                  Coborns does not allow tipping. I think Lunds/byerlys is the same.

                  I have used both services. I used Simon Delivers/Coborns continuously for several years from the time they started, actually. LOVED them for the convenience. IME the overall selection was pretty great and I almost never had an issue with quality or freshness. On the one or two occasions there was a problem, I just emailed and was credited for the item, no questions asked. I always found the produce fresh and lovely.
                  IME Lunds/Byerlys did/do not do anything to temperature control the orders while they out for delivery, which in the summer meant my dairy and other fridge items were warmer than I was comfortable with when delivered. They packed in bags just like at the store vs. Coborns which has insulated totes AND includes cold packs or dry ice for fridge and frozen items. IME this was always a-ok even with an all day-sit on the back stoop in summer. This and the not having to be home to receive the order was the biggest reason I stayed with Coborns vs. L/B once they got into the game.

                  I think the convenience of not having to be home for delivery is the advantage of Coborns over Lunds/Byerlys, but YMMV. If you need unusual or gourmet items, L/B might be better. But there's no reason you can't avail yourself of both, either.
                  Either way, if you are crunched for time or just want to smack down your to-do list, they're awesome. I loved not having to deal with the parking lot wars, cart gridlock and schlepping. And escaping the holiday food shopping insanity...priceless.

                  A few years ago became a little nutty about removing myself from the corporate food chain in whatever ways I could, and later we got a co-op that was convenient to home. Prior to that I had gotten involved with CSA, switched to all local, pastured meats, and started gardening. I quit Coborns just because this whittled down my conventional grocery needs to Hellmans mayo, King Arthur bread flour and powdered buttermilk.
                  If I could get delivery from my co-op, I totally would.

                  eta: I have never been a huge purchaser of fresh fruit, but in the cases where I needed something specific and was depending on a specific state of ripeness or whatever, I just went to the store and bought in person. I was always totally happy with stuff like grapes, citrus, berries, pears, etc. from Coborns.

                  1. re: splatgirl

                    We buy all of our beef and pork directly from the producer, but dropped our CSA because it's just too hard to manage right now. I think we'll discontinue grocery delivery once farmers markets are back in full swing because going to the farmers market is a family outing for us and I like choosing my own and buying directly from the producer. But, this time of year,most of the produce you get, even from the co-ops, is pretty much either frozen or hothouse, or flown in from somewhere anyway. I don't feel bad. But Coborns does have Kadejan chicken and Thousand HIlls beef, which is pretty appealing. Where they really fall down I think is on dairy.


              2. Hi there everyone,

                So, I've been using Coborns delivery service pretty consistently since this past spring but have had what I think might be a show-stopping frustration with them and that is, they aren't careful or consistent about describing on their site their proteins as either "fresh" or "frozen". This wreaks havoc with my menu planning when the chicken I was planning on cooking right away shows up rock-hard-solid frozen.

                When I emailed them to complain about my most recent order, they claimed that the word frozen was actually included in the title of one of the items in question (and it most certainly is as of this moment). However, I went back and looked at my receipt generated at the time I placed my order (which just pulls the product descriptions), and noted that the word "frozen" was NOT in the description. I suppose there's a remote possiblity that someone changed the description in the 36 hours between when I placed my order and the time I complained about my order, but cynic that I am, I think they changed the description after I complained (trying to make this look like my mistake in ordering rather than their sloppy labeling) and hoped I wouldn't think to check my receipt.

                Now I'm really, really irritated to put it mildly. In addition, I find their product selection pretty limited compared to what I'm used to. I do like the fact that the delivery fee is $5 cheaper than Lunds/Byerly's and Mississippi Market and I like that I don't have to be home when the groceries are delivered (though, as a practical matter, we always make a point to be home because we don't like having the green bins hanging around for another week...)...

                I'm wondering if I should explore other services.

                For those of you who shopped Coborns in the past, do you remember how you dealt with the fresh-vs.-frozen meats problem?

                For those of you who have used Lunds Byerly's, has this been a problem for you?

                Finally, MIssissippi Market in St. Paul has now entered the grocery delivery fray. Has anyone tried their service?

                Thank you!


                2 Replies
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Hi TDQ. Sorry to hear you had a bad time with Coborns. I'm kinda surprised - they've always been good with my orders. I've never had the fresh/frozen problem. Anything I've ordered that did not say "frozen" somewhere in the title or description has arrived unfrozen in a cooler. I suspect that you had a unique case and that either you're right, and someone quickly changed the description after you complained, or your alternative theory is right, and someone changed the description between your order and the time they sent it to you.

                  At any rate, how did they resolve this problem? Did they offer you a credit or anything? With me, the few times I've had problems with my order they've credited my account with the price of the item. They don't even ask me to send it back to them to verify I'm telling the truth.

                  1. re: shadowfax

                    They did nothing to resolve this problem, except to apologize for the disruption in our dinner plans (we ordered pizza last since both the chicken I was going to cook for last night's dinner and the sausage I was going to cook for tonight's dinner were frozen solid). In fact, they haven't even responded to my follow up email where I cut and pasted the description of the chicken (the item they claim has frozen in the title) from my electronic receipt. I'm sort of surprised since I'd heard from chowhound as well as a neighbor that they are quick to offer some sort of refund or adjustment or reasonable attempt at resolving a problem when customer is unhappy and, as you say, just take the customer's word for it. To be fair, though, not that much time has passed for them to address my complaint.

                    But, I've had the fresh/frozen thing happen to me several times. I often use the master list to place my orders and sometimes my chicken arrives fresh and sometimes it arrives frozen and there's just no way to tell which it's going to be...


                2. A coworker of mine used to work for Simon Delivers in the warehouse. And based on what he told me, I would never use their service. According to him, the fruits/vegetables and meat were practically rancid. No one would ever rotate the produce and the place was in absolute shambles.

                  Now, I understand the place went out of business, and this probably explains why. I don't know if they've overhauled their practices. It may be better now, along with all the other places that deliver.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alpa chino

                    I thought the overall quality was much better in the Simon Delivers days. I never, ever had a single issue with produce or anything else being anything other than top notch. The only actual problem I ever had with either provider was with a broken egg or two. I toured the facility once back then. It seemed extremely organized and clean. I also found the SD customer service extraordinarily good, less so once Coborn's took over. I'm astounded that they're not more receptive to your issue, DQ. Dumb dumb dumb of them.
                    I almost never ordered meat but I do recall at least one instance of having to change dinner plans because of what you're describing.

                    1. re: alpa chino

                      It's important to note that Coborns bought the Simon Delivers trucks and warehouse(s), but that they are not just a renamed SD. Any bad practices that SD engaged in should not automatically be attributed to CD.