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Grocery Guy goes the extra mile for his customers

Sam Purpura's grocery delivery business provides valuable service to the elderly and people with mobility issues
Sam “The Grocery Guy” Purpura has been providing grocery delivery service in Greater Sudbury for a little more than a year and loves what he's doing. Photo: Matt Durnan

Sam Purpura is a man who truly enjoys what he does, and values the chance to provide a service to his community.

Better known to some as “The Grocery Guy,” Purpura has been running his grocery delivery business for a little more than a year, and he's loving every minute of it.

“It really makes me feel like I'm giving something to Sudbury,” said Purpura. “I'm glad that I'm able to help out in some way.”

The concept of a grocery delivery service is not necessarily a new one, but one that was not common in Sudbury. Purpura learned his way around the city after years of doing pizza delivery for a few different companies.

“I did some research and found that there's really not many options for grocery delivery here in Sudbury,” he said. “I'm based out of the downtown, so I'm pretty central and I'm able to service a pretty large area.”

Purpura has clients in Garson, Azilda and all over Greater Sudbury. The majority of his client base is the elderly and those with mobility issues.

“I've also got some customers who are younger, and they're business owners who just don't have a lot of time to do their own grocery shopping, so that's where I come in,” said Purpura.

The system used by the Grocery Guy is a simple one, where Purpura asks that orders be made by 9 a.m. to guarantee same-day delivery, or by 11 a.m. on Friday for a weekend delivery.

All orders can be made by telephone, as well as email, and Purpura is in the process of building his website to allow for online ordering where specifics of each product can be viewed and selected.

“There's so much variety of products out there that it can get a little tricky,” he said. “Do you want store brand? Do you want name brand? What size do you want? Low sodium, low fat, there's a lot of different options so it's not as easy as just writing down a product name.”

Purpura prides himself on his attention to each individual customer and making the experience as seamless as possible.

“If there's any questions, I'll phone the customer right while I'm in the store and ask. If there's a sale on a product on their list, I'll let them know. The goal is for it to be as close to them doing the shopping themselves as possible.”

The customer is also free to choose which grocery store they want to shop at. Purpura pays for the groceries up front and then charges a delivery fee depending on the amount of groceries purchased.

Grocery bills up to $50 are a $15 delivery charge, $50 to $100 in groceries will cost $20 to deliver, $100 to $150 is $25 and $150 and up will cost $35.

Business can get hectic at times says Purpura, who has a friend who helps him out with deliveries when things get crazy. For the most part, though, Purpura is able to handle the workload himself, so long as the customers adhere to ordering guidelines.

“I just ask that the orders come in the night before or before I start my day at 9 a.m.” he said. “That way I'm able to plan out the day and I know that I can guarantee deliveries are made at the time the customer wants them.”

Feminine hygiene products and items that some men might be embarrassed to purchase are of no bother for Purpura, and he has no qualms with any items you'd find in the grocery store.

“When I was young, maybe seven or eight years old, my mother and sister would always send me to the store to pick up Tampax and things like that and it never bothered me,” said Purpura with a laugh. “If it's something you need, I'll get it.”

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Matt Durnan

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