The drive from Greenport Village to Lake Grove, where one of Suffolk County’s only two Trader Joe’s stores is located, is 52 miles long and takes at least an hour to complete. The means Speculoos cookie butter and raisin rosemary crisps-loving North Forkers have to devote half a day — allowing time for driving, parking and shopping — to get their fix.
Candice Schott, a Greenport resident and mom of four, is launching a home delivery service where she will pick up all of your favorite Trader Joe’s products at cost and deliver them to your doorstep for a flat delivery fee.
“This is for anyone who is too busy,” Schott said. “I have people in Riverhead who say they don’t want to drive [to Trader Joe’s]. Everyone’s time is really valuable.”
The service, which is not affiliated with Trader Joe’s, will launch the weekend of Sept. 11 and 12.
If you’re interested, here’s how it works.
Visit NorthForkProvisons.com and select the products you want to order. You may purchase up to $300 worth of groceries, though there is no minimum order total. To check out, enter your information and select a delivery time window.
You pay for the groceries at the time of checkout and pay the delivery fee when the items arrive at your home or business. Orders are adjusted based on Trader Joe’s current prices and product availability.
Schott will pick up the orders — often with her son and co-pilot Rowan Schur riding along — in a recently purchased, non-refrigerated box truck.
The delivery fee is $40 for orders $1 to $200 and $50 for orders up to $300 and the service is available from Riverhead to Orient. Multiple households may chip in on a delivery fee.
“I’m not reselling,” Schott said. “The cost of the products is Trader Joe’s Prices.”
Schott will not carry every item available at the store, avoiding fresh meats, eggs and milk, though customers can make special requests for specific products.
She is looking to partner with North Fork food producers and hopes to soon offer local produce and artisanal goods.
Sanmarie Lara, a social media consultant and mom of two from Mattituck, noted that the appeal of Trader Joe’s — which stocks unconventional, private label products — is lower prices and high quality.
Lara, who previously lived in Manahttan, said she now rarely makes the trip to western Suffolk as she and her husband both work and the journey can get stressful with two small kids in tow.
“It took half a day out of our weekend, but we do love going there because their prices are good,” she said. “[North Fork Provisions] is perfect for a family like us who have little kids and not much time.”
Six years ago Claire Kennedy, a Long Island Wine Council staffer and mother of three, circulated an online petition to bring the chain to the Riverhead area. She used to chronicle her visits to the nearest store, which is located at 2085 Smith Haven Plaza, on her blog “Trader Joe’s East End Friends.”
“I don’t make the trip as often as I used to, but there are so many great products,” she said. “I used to come out with two full shopping carts.”
It is not clear if a store will ever be built on the East End. A Trader Joe’s representative did not return a call seeking comment.
For anyone wondering whether or not North Fork Provisions is legal, just look to Vancouver’s own TJ’s knockoff, Pirate Joe’s. Owner Mike Hallatt has spent more than $800,000 scooping up Trader Joe’s products in Seattle and re-selling them at a markup in his own North-of-the-border store (there are no TJ’s in Canada).
Trader Joe’s sued him in 2013 and lost.
“If you own something, you’re legally entitled to do anything you want with it, including selling it to your friends in Canada,” Hallatt told CBS Sunday Morning.
Schott explained that what she is doing is completely above board because she is not making a profit on Trader Joe’s products — just on the time and gas it takes to get them.
“I’m just trying to make life easier for everyone else,” she said.