Q&A: Antoinette Rosenberg

Founder of Gather'd Market — A Different Kind of Grocery Service

The COVID-19 pandemic influenced many to forgo visiting local grocery stores and opt for delivery or curbside pickup. With grocery delivery companies like Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and others, many struggled to get what they needed when they needed it. As a solution to this problem, as well as others, Antoinette Rosenberg created Gather’d Market — a new grocery delivery service that prioritizes families’ needs. The Woodinville resident launched Gather’d Market in April.

What inspired you to create Gather’d Market?

It started toward the end of 2019. My kids were super young, and they were just starting to get into this routine of dinnertime. We just decided dinnertime was going to be sacred, and that it was going to be the one thing that we were going to get right as far as being with our family and creating really meaningful routines.

I did not grow up knowing how to cook, so thinking about feeding my family was actually a big ordeal. I had to find recipes that were healthy but also kid-friendly. And then make the grocery list, and then I had to figure out how to get it. I just realized that there were so many places where that broke down, and we just ended up eating chicken nuggets. Every week as I sat to do this process, I thought about women everywhere. I was thinking about the mental load that women carry, and I just knew that what I was experiencing was very universal — like we were all sitting down trying to figure out how to handle all the different parts of life. I looked around, and I said, “Who’s working on this?” and no one was. I had this crazy idea that if you remade the grocery store and you put the consumer at the center and how they think about food, you’d end up with something entirely different than what we have now.

How does it work?

It’s a grocery store built for busy families. It’s built around helping them solve mealtime. It works in two ways. You can go on, and you can shop the way you shop Instacart. The one difference is, we have four grocery stores in one place — you don’t put in four separate orders for four different stores. Then, we shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market, and PCC for you in one order.

The second thing is, we can have you shop directly from a recipe — part of solving mealtime. We use a lot of good content from food bloggers and chefs. We’ve worked with them to help people get inspired and then be able to make that recipe. You can also adjust the recipe (and thus the groceries) to your liking. So, if you’re craving lasagna, you can find a recipe on the site and order the ingredients and change out whatever you need.

Are there other ways in which Gather’d Market differs from other grocery delivery services?

Two things come to mind. The workers are really the ones carrying the brunt of this. As I built Gather’d Market, I really thought about, “How do we set a better model for how we treat, pay, and schedule our delivery workers?” So, our model is not on demand. We wanted to have a balance of the consumer being able to get their stuff quickly but also create good working hours. So, we have next-day delivery. If you order by 8 p.m., your stuff gets to you by 4 p.m. the next day. That allows us to give set schedules and pay fair wages to ensure that our team can be home for dinner with their family. That’s something that is really important.

The other thing is, we can get grocery delivery right. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been ordering groceries, and a lot of times the orders are wrong or missing something. It’s actually a really big deal. You just didn’t mess up the order; like, the whole dinner is messed up now. I think that there’s an understanding we have for the consumer of things like what substitutions work and what it means when a product is out of stock and how we actually compensate the consumer for when we get something wrong. Because we’re really not just messing up an item; we’re really messing up a meal. I just think there’s something about the empathy we have for this consumer that will allow us to serve them better.

Photo by Russie Denay Photography

What have been the biggest challenges in creating this?

Building the business is more difficult than I ever imagined. I went to business school, and they don’t teach you any of this. I’m just like, “How did I miss all of this?” But honestly, the hardest part was the pandemic. My kids’ school closed, and I spent a month with this project on the shelf. And it was amazing. We went to the zoo, we ate so many doughnuts — it was a really lovely time in life, and I will never regret it, but I watched the entire industry explode.

What’s been most rewarding?

The most rewarding thing really comes down to how this is going to make people’s lives easier and how it’s going to lift the burden for families — especially the women who carry this burden. When I ran the pilot, I had my testers send back videos talking about the experience. There was just enthusiasm around every part of it. We deliver in reusable canvas bags and washable totes, and they’re like, “This just felt so nice to feel like I was getting the farmers market delivered, even though it’s your grocery store.” And so those moments of joy and knowing that it was making somebody’s life a little bit easier have been by far the most rewarding.

What’s the future like for Gather’d Market?

I really want to create a space where local makers can get their products into homes in a way that’s easier than getting to the grocery store. So, that whole local marketplace is really a big focus in the next six months. I think probably in the next two years is building a real-life space for Gather’d people. There are parts of the grocery store that people really love. I love discovering new products. I love seeing what’s in season. How do you just take the parts you love and make an experiential store? The majority of their purchasing is happening online. Building an experiential store for food is on the path and really rethinking what the grocery store looks like in this new world.

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