OjaExpress is disrupting the grocery market with a simple solution to bring cultural grocery shopping online. What is meant by “cultural” grocery shopping? Think Instacart for ethnic foods. According to a release, the company helps customers shop for groceries from their favorite cultural grocers, as well as expose non-native eaters to different ethnic fares. It serves as a marketplace for small grocers that sell culturally specific groceries that lack the technology infrastructure to sell their goods online, and engage and attract new customers.
The company is currently based on the South Side of Chicago and has been focused there, but they are currently garnering interests in other regions of the country. “We are currently focusing on African and Caribbean immigrants, in the US, but fully intend to include other immigrant communities as we grow,” founder Boyede Sobitan told Black Enterprise. “We realized that the immigrant community is left out of the on-demand grocery shopping landscape.”
According to a recent report, 61% of ethnic American consumers are unable to find ample ethnic food/ingredients at their main grocery store. Studies show that 59% of ethnic American consumers go to three (3) or more grocery stores regularly to find the full product selection they need. There are 81 million first- and second-generation immigrants and a growing foodie population that is seeking a fast and convenient method for acquiring hard-to-find ethnic groceries.
Up until this point, OjaExpress has been entirely bootstrapped, meaning they are self-funded. They do hope to raise capital in the future in order to grow their customer based and improve their solution to onboard more grocers but, so far with the traction that they’ve had the customers seem to be happy.
Lola, a busy mom who lives on the third floor of a condo, found the service to be a relief. “I really don’t feel like lugging everything up the stairs with my two little boys fighting and everything so it’s convenient for me to have my groceries delivered.” She is of Nigerian descent and has been able to fulfill her needs with the service.