HomeGrocer.com (Nasdaq:HOMG), the nation’s largest Internet grocer, today launched its online service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with the opening of a new customer fulfillment center in Carrollton, Texas.

The Carrollton facility is HomeGrocer.com’s seventh customer fulfillment center, and represents the Kirkland, Wash.-based company’s first venture beyond the West Coast.

“As a major market that has embraced the power and convenience of Internet shopping, Dallas-Fort Worth is the perfect choice for our first facility outside of the West Coast,” Mary Alice Taylor, HomeGrocer.com’s chairman and chief executive officer, said. “Dallas-Fort Worth now joins HomeGrocer.com’s major markets in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif., and we expect to enter the San Diego and Atlanta markets in the second quarter of 2000. Our goal is to surprise and delight every HomeGrocer.com customer on every shop, and to drive our customer fulfillment centers to profitability.”

To celebrate the opening, HomeGrocer.com hosted “Shop for A Difference,” a celebrity shopping spree through which HomeGrocer.com donated nearly $6,000 in food and packaged goods to five local charities: Bryan’s House; The Family Place; Reaching America’s Youth; The Variety Club of North Texas; and Share Our Strength and its grant recipient North Texas Food Bank. “In addition to serving our customers and creating more than 300 local jobs, HomeGrocer.com is committed to serving the community,” Taylor said. “`Shop for A Difference’ kicks off our pledge to give back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a commitment that already includes partnerships with local food banks that will receive donations year-round.”

HomeGrocer.com’s fleet of tri-temperature trucks, bearing the company’s signature peach logo, initially will deliver in Dallas-area neighborhoods extending north to McKinney, east to Rockwall, south to Duncanville and west to the eastern section of Fort Worth. Customers can order a full selection of quality groceries, fresh meats and produce, health and beauty aids, flowers and other consumer products through the company’s Website, www.homegrocer.com, until 11 p.m. and select a 90-minute window for next-day delivery. Specially trained personal shoppers select each item, and friendly delivery professionals deliver the orders directly to customers’ kitchen counters — all at prices that are competitive with traditional supermarkets. HomeGrocer.com offers an unconditional 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, underscoring its commitment to customers. HomeGrocer.com has been recognized by Feedback Direct Inc., a leading online customer service authority, as one of the top 50 North American companies to demonstrate consistently superior customer service.

Taylor hosted the official opening of the Carrollton customer fulfillment center. Five celebrity VIPs participated on behalf of a wide range of local charities: Alyson Outen, entertainment reporter for GuideLive.com, represented Bryan’s House; Miss Dallas, Morgan Matlock, represented The Family Place; Beau Morgan, running back for the Dallas Cowboys, represented Reaching America’s Youth; Rebel, disc jockey for KSCS-FM 96.3, represented the Variety Club of North Texas; and Stephen Pyles, chef/owner of AquaKnox and Star Canyon restaurants and host of WTTW’s “New Tastes from Texas,” represented Share Our Strength and its grant recipient North Texas Food Bank.

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The VIPs had 20 minutes to order as much as $1,000 of food and consumer products from the HomeGrocer.com Website, using “wish lists” from their respective charities. Next, with the help of HomeGrocer.com personal shoppers, the VIPs filled the orders from the shelves of the 125,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center. The first team to complete its order earned an additional $500 gift certificate for the charity, and HomeGrocer.com surprised the four other non-profit organizations with additional $100 gift certificates. At the end of the shopping spree, HomeGrocer.com’s delivery professionals, the celebrities and charity representatives delivered the goods to the nonprofit organizations’ facilities.

About the Charities

  • Bryan’s House, Dallas Bryan’s House responds to the needs of children and their families who are affected by HIV/AIDS by providing medically managed child care and community-based, family-centered support services.
  • The Family Place, Dallas The Family Place is a 22-year-old non-profit organization working to stop family violence in the Dallas community.
  • Reaching America’s Youth, Lewisville Reaching America’s Youth brings ‘Just 4 U’ events into juvenile facilities across the country to deliver the message that there is a better way of life. The programs are led by Reaching America’s Youth Founder/President Bunny Martin, dedicated volunteers, former inmates, professional athletes, and entertainers.
  • The Variety Club of North Texas, Dallas The Variety Club of North Texas is a non-profit organization that serves children in physical, financial and/or emotional need by providing a range of items, from food to clothes to medical supplies, to local organizations in need.
  • Share Our Strength and grant recipient North Texas Food Bank, Dallas

Through creative partnerships with a wide range of industries, Share Our Strength meets immediate demands for food while investing in long-term solutions to hunger and poverty around the world.

North Texas Food Bank is a non-profit agency that distributes donated food and grocery products to churches and other charitable organizations that feed the hungry in North Texas.

About HomeGrocer.com,

HomeGrocer.com, based in Kirkland, Wash., combines technology with highly personalized service to revolutionize the way people shop. The HomeGrocer.com system integrated its Internet Website, www.homegrocer.com, with its customer fulfillment centers and fleet of tri-temperature trucks to deliver the highest-quality products directly to consumers’ homes or offices. HomeGrocer.com offers an extensive selection of groceries and household goods, including name-brand items, top-quality produce, meats, seafood and dairy products, fresh flowers, health and beauty aids, and top-selling books, videos and movies. HomeGrocer.com’s shares are quoted on the NASDAQ under the symbol “HOMG.”