Atlanta Grocers, Nourish + Bloom, Continue Mission Despite ‘Shark Tank’ Bust

Nourish + Bloom provides a technological twist on food shopping

The owners of autonomous Black-owned grocery store Nourish + Bloom are steadfast in their mission. Despite leaving Shark Tank with no investments, they’re continuing their quest to remedy food deserts in communities of color.

Nourish + Bloom provides a technological twist on food shopping. While being a smaller-scale market in the neighborhood, this corner store has got some tricks up its aisles. Unlike the traditional grocery experience, this one is fully functioning without a cashier ringing items up, as reported by Bloomberg.

Instead, they use a digital tablet with an artificial intelligence software – who prefers to go by Rosie. Rosie, placed at the entrance of Nourish + Bloom, greets customers and provides them with insight into the innovative store. The concept is similar to Amazon Go, where customers use a QR code to track what items they purchase as they place them in weight-sensitive carts. The transactions happen digitally as they leave the store. However, Rosie is not working completely alone.

The store’s first location in metro Atlanta gains help from its owners, Jilea and Jamie Hemmings. The husband-and-wife duo can be found in the upscale convenience store helping customers and preparing meals. With Nourish + Bloom, the grocers intend to curate not only a faster, smoother shopping experience, but one that brings healthy, nutritious options to these areas. They believe their concept, alongside reduced operating costs, “[makes] groceries sexy again” to investors.

“Historically, grocery has not been a lucrative investment opportunity, unless you’re at the big box scale,” says Jilea Hemmings. “However, this technology, because you’re able to reduce your operating costs, does make groceries sexy again, because now you’re able to reduce your overhead and operate for a longer period of time.”

However, Shark Tank investors did not believe in its profitability when the couple pitched their idea in March. Despite this, Nourish + Bloom seeks to prove that eradicating food deserts can be lucrative with the help of grocery tech. Currently, three more stores are set to open across Atlanta, starting this summer.

Small but mighty, Nourish + Bloom hopes to keep expanding as its values remain the same: to provide better access to healthy foods, one community at a time.