Tech Tuesday: First Autonomous Grocery Store From Black Entrepreneurs Opens in Atlanta

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Nourish + Bloom Market, the world’s first contactless grocery store owned by Black entrepreneurs, opened in Atlanta on Friday. The store is located in Trilith’s Town Centre food and shopping district in Fayette County.

Jamie and Jilea Hemmings, the husband-and-wife entrepreneurial team behind the company, attracted a crowd of inaugural patrons for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, now immortalized on Instagram. Consumers navigated store shelves packed with local brands, with all products free of high-fructose corn syrup and GMOs.

The story of Nourish + Bloom Market began when the couple’s oldest child received an autism diagnosis. With the knowledge that autism can influence diet, the Hemmings launched a vegan food company for children, Greenie Tots.

A few years later, the duo found themselves diving into another food-related business venture that combined tech with healthy eating.

“We thought of the idea [for Nourish + Bloom Market] a year ago, during the pandemic, to provide a solution for customers where they wouldn’t have to wait in line or touch anything while checking out,” said Jamie Hemmings in an interview with TechCrunch.

Nourish + Bloom Market, open 24/7, offers a unique shopping experience. After downloading the store’s app and adding payment info, shoppers pass through the turnstile by scanning a code that opens a virtual cart. Patrons can then peruse the aisles of the store at their leisure, as weighted shelves and a host of cameras document their purchases—according to TechCrunch.

Customers are charged for their food after exiting the market, and their receipt is electronically delivered to the app. Interaction with the store’s staff is completely optional, though shoppers who need assistance can easily request help from staff standing by.

The high-tech innovation goes beyond just the store itself.

Nourish + Bloom delivers groceries to online shoppers within a three-mile radius via robots that are temperature-controlled inside. To add a bit of magic to each delivery, the robots display facial expressions and emit playful noises.

Nourish + Bloom markets may soon populate the country, as the Hemmings team hopes to expand the brand’s reach with 800 stores. For now, the second store will also open in Atlanta with the company choosing a specific location in the next sixth months.

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