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The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Instacart, the personal shopping service that started there in February, "has expanded its services both in Philadelphia proper and to the outer suburbs, as well as adding big-name supermarkets to the list its customers can order from."

Instacart began its Philadelphia incursion by shopping only at Whole Foods for its customers, and then added Super Fresh. This week, it announced that it is adding BJ's Wholesale Club to its roster of stores.

According to the story, "Normally, customers would need a membership with BJ’s, running between $50 a year for a personal membership, to $100 a year for a rewards membership. With Instacart, customers won’t have to deal with any of those annual fees. The company’s 'personal shoppers' — those working on commission who go out and complete customers’ orders — will use the company’s business account to fulfill orders from the wholesale club’s locations in South Philadelphia."

And, the story says, "The company also expanded its coverage area. In February, Instacart expanded its service area to include Fishtown, Kensington and Port Richmond. Now, a month later, the company has expanded even further, reaching the Main Line to include Gladwyn, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Havertown and parts of Upper Darby."
KC's View:
I remain skeptical of Instacart's ability to create a sustainable business model. In a time when disintermediation seems to be a key business strategy, it is actually adding a level of cost and mediation. But I'm a lot less skeptical of Instacart's ability to stay in business until someone writes a big check to acquire its assets and integrate them into another business.