Getting Green BEAN Delivery groceries at Franklin College is more like getting a pizza delivered.
The streamlined service — which uses reusable green bins full of fresh produce designed to be dropped off on door steps and left for hours — breaks down on college campuses, which don’t have a central, convenient place to drop off bins for busy students.
Instead, the driver must call the student in their dorm and have them meet them curbside to receive the delivery, causing hiccups to many aspects of the streamlined model Green BEAN prides itself on.
That’s what Shane Towne, president of the delivery service’s parent company, said they’re working on.
“We’re definitely interested in finding a solution to go to schools,” he said.
Green BEAN Delivery doesn’t have a problem servicing tens of thousands of gated communities and apartment buildings in the Midwest because they’re set up to receive deliveries without the customer being available.
But Towne said colleges and universities don’t work the same way — and many institutions restrict or prevent drop offs at a central administration or mailing office because of worries it may become overwhelming for employees to manage.
“We have that challenge when we go up against a potential college policy,” he said. “That’s where it becomes a bit of a struggle.”
Towne says the company is currently working on some models that would be viable for a dorm setting, which may mirror the service’s “Green BEAN Office” model where companies order groceries to be delivered on Mondays to feed their employees throughout the week.
Right now, this sort of model is being used by professors or specific academic buildings at colleges and universities. The student version is still in the works and has yet to be launched.
“We’re working on getting around those pitfalls of actual dorm delivery,” he said.
Green BEAN Delivery lets customers shop for organic produce and natural groceries — like fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, dairy and meat — online and schedule them for weekly or biweekly delivery.
All the items have prices comparable to other organic grocers, Towne said, because of the shared buying power the company has across its six major warehouses throughout the Midwest, including Indianapolis.
Each of the bins, which start at $20, are completely customizable for members until 10 a.m. the day before delivery.
“This translates very well to a busy student intimately involved with their studies and their curriculum,” he said. “This way, they don’t have to carve out time in their busy schedule. You can order from the comfort of your dorm, a classroom or a study hall between classes.”
The root of the company’s mission is to provide healthy, nutritious and artisanal products to people who would otherwise have difficulty getting them — including in food desert areas where residents don’t have transportation to get to grocery stores.
“All campuses are somewhat of a microcosm of their own entities,” Towne said.
Since its inception in 2007, Towne said the service has been committed to combating the issue. Aside from serving customers by physically driving in fresh goods on refrigerated trucks, he said the company often donates fresh produce to food banks in the communities it serves.