Nourish + Bloom Market re-imagines grocery shopping with UST’s autonomous frictionless solutions
Nourish + Bloom Market, a technology-driven and community inspired touchless grocery store and bistro offering healthy food at affordable prices.
Lockdowns and safety concerns made grocery shopping very challenging during the pandemic. At this time, Jamie Michael and Jilea Hemmings realized that the Trilith area of Fayetteville, Ga., about 22 miles south of downtown Atlanta, was a food desert. It didn’t have a convenient grocery store with affordable, high-quality food. Motivated by this and encouraged by their three children, especially their oldest son who has autism, the couple founded Nourish + Bloom Market to make healthy food accessible to their community.
The Hemmings, however, wanted to do more than open a grocery store. They wanted to reimagine the traditional corner grocery by offering an intuitive, technology-driven, frictionless customer experience. The autonomous grocery store would allow shoppers to select their items and walk out of the store—without waiting in the check-out line. Shoppers would also have an alternative touchless grocery delivery option through robotic delivery within the local area.
The Hemmings partnered with UST to bring their vision for an autonomous, convenient, affordable, healthy grocery store to life. UST provided the product engineering expertise as well as the design, integration, and project management services to create an “Autonomous Store in a Box.” Leveraging the latest Microsoft technologies, the solution spans the retail back-office, kitchen, and bistro operations and utilizes these key products and services:
- UST Vision Checkout—For self-checkout point of sale functionality, it uses computer vision to identify SKUs, including age-restricted products, frozen foods, fruits, vegetables, and bistro items
- UST Product Box—To quickly onboard SKUs into a computer vision solution
- UST Cold Truth—To provide IoT-based temperature monitoring at the shelf level to increase operational efficiency
- UST Store—A dynamic digital media display solution deployed in the bistro area that provides monetization opportunities and audience analytics
- UST Scan & Go—To enable the frictionless check-out functionality using a QR code embedded in a smartphone app
- Inventory system—To manage in-store operations and report for the back end and sales systems
- E-commerce application—Designed and built by UST to handle all online transactions, including coffee, bistro, and delivery subscriptions
- DAX Delivery Robots—A UST partner that offers last-mile robotic delivery
UST’s product engineering expertise helped turn the Hemmings’ vision for Nourish + Bloom Market into a reality. The first store opened in January 2022 with more than 1,500 SKUs and 24/7/365 operations. The company offers a wide array of items, such as locally sourced produce, meats, dairy, baked goods, and prepared meals, as well as everyday convenience items with a completely contactless checkout process. The re-imagined, technology-driven approach to grocery shopping allows the Hemmings and their staff to focus on personal connections, positive community impacts, and sustainability while keeping costs down and customer satisfaction high. With UST’s “Autonomous Store in a Box” solution, the company is well-positioned to achieve its goal of opening 1,000 Nourish + Bloom Markets in the next 10 years. To learn more about the UST’s technology solutions at Nourish + Bloom Market, click here.