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‘These Major Platforms Don’t Offer Them’: Atlanta Couple’s Online Food Delivery Service Connects Shoppers with Black-Owned Farms and Grocery Stores

A new Atlanta-area food ordering and delivery service is helping customers support Black-owned businesses with just one click of a button. Rhandi and Jonathan Altidor launched the website The Better Buggy in June as people began staying home and out of the stores to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While lots of food and grocery ordering apps offer a plethora of convenient options for at-home shopping and delivery, the couple realized the pandemic made smaller Black-owned farms and grocery stores much less accessible.

“We pulled out our phones and we’re just like, ‘these major platforms don’t offer them,’ ” Rhandi Altidor said.

She and her husband, who both work as educators, wanted to step in and fill that void for other shoppers throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. The Altidors say their goal with The Better Buggy is to connect customers to fresh produce and everyday essentials from Black-owned grocery stores.

The new business has so far partnered with four Atlanta-area grocery stores and farms, including Gratitude Botanical Farm, run by lifelong friends and Atlanta natives Christopher Lemons and Desmond Baskerville.

Their farm is one of the businesses available to shoppers on Customers can visit the site, select items under the tabs of one or more of the businesses, choose a delivery date and time and check out.

From there, the Altidors or their delivery drivers will shop, pick up the online orders and deliver them to any doorstep within 35 miles of Atlanta, including Jonesboro, Duluth and Alpharetta. Since June, the business has delivered over 120 orders.

“It kind of helps us strengthen the chain,” said Lemons, a fifth-generation farmer who began growing organic foods on one-and-a-half acres of land off Collier Street alongside Baskerville in 2018.  “That’s what’s important when we talk about supporting Black businesses, is making sure that those Black businesses are actually supporting other Black businesses so that we don’t fall by the wayside, that we hold hands and that we go through this together.”

After seeing a slight decline in business during the height of the pandemic, the farmer said he’s seen Gratitude’s customer base grow since teaming up with The Better Buggy.

“Being able to connect people with our foods via delivery is a point that we needed to improve upon, so it’s a blessing to be able to partner with The Better Buggy in order to make those deliveries happen,” Lemons said.

The Altidors said their business not only helps bridge a gap between consumers and Black-owned food providers, but it encourages healthy eating and living among the Black community.

“Within our community, health is one of those things that we’ve always struggled with, just with how we eat and the foods that we eat,” Jonathan Altidor said. “So I think with us doing this, it definitely supports giving people more access to healthier options and products.”

As their food delivery operation expands, the couple said they hope to develop a Better Buggy mobile app for their shoppers.

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