SAN CARLOS -- Local family-owned grocer Bianchini's Market on Tuesday will start delivering through Instacart, a San Francisco-based startup that brings groceries from store to home in as little as an hour.

The partnership with Instacart allows Bianchini's to offer for the first time in its 73-year history a large-scale home delivery service. Through the Instacart website or mobile app, customers in parts of the South Bay and Peninsula can order any item from Bianchini's and have it delivered in one or two hours, or at a scheduled time that day. Instacart will deliver from both the San Carlos and Portola Valley stores.

"The potential for us to pick up new customers with Instacart is tremendous," said Kevin Bianchini, owner of Bianchini's Market.

Currently, most shoppers are local residents, and Bianchini's -- a local institution and the first full-service grocery store in San Carlos -- doesn't have a far reach. The market does deliver food to seniors who are ill.

The partnership with Bianchini's is one of the few formal agreements Instacart has with a grocer to deliver from its stores, and signals that food retailers may be more willing to outsource delivery than try to tackle it themselves. Instacart also has agreements to deliver from Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, Green Aisle Grocery in Philadelphia and Yes Organic Market in Washington, D.C. Founder Apoorva Mehta said more agreements are in the works. With these formal partnerships, Instacart gets special access such as bypassing store checkout lines, and retailers can offer special promotions on the Instacart website.


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Instacart drivers shop and pay for customer orders at stores such as Whole Foods just like any other shopper. However, not all grocers have welcomed Instacart -- Trader Joe's gave Instacart the boot from its stores and Berkeley Bowl has distanced itself from the startup.

"In the early days of Instacart we didn't necessarily need those relationships with those retailers," Mehta said. But now "retailers are seeing the value (because) customers are spending more" on Instacart.

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.