A local food effort that began in March to invigorate the Chapel Hill-Carrboro food economy during the pandemic has now exceeded $1 million in sales.
Carrboro United is a local food hub program that allows consumers to pick up food from local restaurants and farmers three times a week. It was launched by former Fleet Feet Sports CEO Tom Raynor, Acme Food & Beverage Co. and a team of local leaders to help restaurants in response to the pandemic.
Zoë Dehmer, director of operations and planning for Acme Food & Beverage Co., said the first week of creating Carrboro United was incredibly challenging for the team. In 48 hours, they created a website, set up an online payment system and created a logo, branding and social media.
“I don’t think I slept for probably four days straight,” Dehmer said.
But they didn’t do it alone. Dehmer said the team had help from local businesses in the area who lent their parking lots. In addition, US Foods lent a refrigerated truck for the program to operate out of, and a local branding and design agency, The Splinter Group, coded their website and created signage.
“It was a big collaborative effort,” Dehmer said.
Carrboro United was first located in the parking lot in front of the Cat’s Cradle. Once businesses in that area reopened and needed parking back, it moved operations to Carrboro High School’s parking lot for most of the summer. It is now located at University Place.
Here's how it works:
- Menus go out on Sundays and are delivered to people’s email inboxes. Customers can then go to the online payment system and order a meal from a variety of local restaurants, such as Acme or Glasshalfull.
- On the day of their pickup, customers get a reminder of pickup location and time. They can pick their meals up any time between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on “Hub Days,” which are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
- The pickup is contact-free; customers pay online and stay in their cars when picking up food.