Ben Fraraccio understands what it’s like to come home after a long day at work, pick up the kids and head to the grocery store.
Going up and down aisles and standing in line without giving in to the demands of youngsters can make a straightforward trip highly frustrating.
That’s where Grocery Guy comes in. Fraraccio, who launched the service in 2011, specializes in shopping for people who don’t have the time, or the ability, to complete a shopping trip on their own.
He and three assistants shop for customers and deliver orders within a 15-kilometre radius of London, including to Dorchester, St. Thomas, Komoka and Ilderton.
“We’ve been called life savers and one lady called us an angel. It’s so positive,” says Fraraccio, who is married with three young sons.
Because of his service, customers are able to eat fresh produce instead of relying on canned foods and they rarely overbuy with a shopper in charge of the list. One customer was grateful because she was able to enjoy a walk in the park while Fraraccio did her shopping.
Fraraccio graduated in 2004 from the Liaison College of Culinary Arts in Kitchener from the Basic Cook program. He worked in high-profile venues including Black Trumpet Restaurant, Sunningdale Golf & Country Club and Pazzo in Stratford. He believes that training has improved his knowledge of food. He’s able to identify exotic foods on a shopping list and the stores that sell unusual ingredients such as spelt flour.
Fraraccio charges a fee of $20 on orders up to $100. Above $100, customers pay a service charge of 20 per cent of the total cost of the order. If customers want to have items picked up at additional stores, each stop costs $3.
“Any errand that doesn’t require you to be there in person, we can do it,” he says.
As the demand for personal shoppers grows, more businesses are opening. Fraraccio differentiates Grocery Guy by hiring assistants who genuinely care about customers.
“With us, it’s about the customer experience and making sure everybody is happy,” he notes.