PHOENIX — Whether it is due to convenience or necessity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless shopping is becoming a more popular choice for shoppers.
A recent Harris Poll found that seven out of ten consumers preferred contactless shopping and a third said they would be OK with never setting foot in a physical store ever again.
Andy Itule knew this was important factor when starting his business: Bird Dog Produce.
“It always comes down to convenience,” Itule said.
Itule and his longtime friend Kevin Kemper, recognized the surging demand in contactless shopping.
The Valley natives took their years of experience in farming and produce to start their new business.
“My family history is in wholesale produce. I grew up working for my mother and father (at) Willy Itule Produce," Itule said.
"Our business primarily deals with restaurants, schools, hospitals, bigger commercial clients, but we never had a way to connect to the day-to-day consumer, so that’s where Bird Dog was born."
In the produce world, a bird dog is what they call a person who gets sent out to the field to inspect the quality of the produce.
“Our goal is to be the bird dog for your the day-to-day consumer,” said Itule.
"We’re able to eliminate all those other middlemen, where it goes from the farm, to the box to your house."
Bird Dog Produce offers farm-to-table produce with the same convenience and safety that you get with the contactless shopping services at grocery stores.
“We offer about 80 to 100 items," Kemper said.
"Some of the fun stuff we got here -- just some wonderful delicious berries, we got some fun mangos, grapes, some cauliflower, some beautiful stuff."
The business is relatively new, but during times of a pandemic, Itule and Kemper said they feel they can make an impact.
“It takes an extra step to have to go to the market, to go anywhere else. If we can eliminate those things, save you some money and offer a better quality of produce, we feel like we really come out on top,” said Itule.