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    Relay Foods Expands in Mid-Atlantic Region

    E-grocer's move provides increased access to local, artisan foods

    Online marketplace Relay Foods is expanding into three major U.S. Mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas, bolstering its commitment to customers who want local and artisan foods.

    People in the greater Washington D.C.; Baltimore; and Philadelphia metropolitan areas can visit the company’s website to choose from more than 11,000 food items, including local meat, produce and dairy direct from farms in the mid-Atlantic region, for home delivery. Within weeks, Relay will also set up convenient customer pickup locations in each area.

    Relay Foods now serves customers in Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. Through the company’s recent acquisition of Arganica Farm Club in Virginia, Relay gained significant diversification of its food portfolio, in addition to thousands of customers in the greater Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia regions.

    Relay additionally raised $1.2 million in new capital -- from existing investors representing both companies -- to help expedite the integration process.

    “Our intention through this major expansion is to leverage our superior technology, precise operations model, and the concept of Relay offering virtually infinite shelf space, to pursue rapid growth in major metropolitan areas,” explained Zach Buckner, founder and CEO of Charlottesville-based Relay. “The time is right and the market is maturing. Customers are eager to take advantage of the selection and convenience Relay Foods provides. We aim to serve as a long-term catalyst for the local food economies across our growing footprint.”

    New capital will also go toward the future development of an intelligent product recommendation engine and automatic customer segmentation functionality, with the aim of considerably accelerating the personalization of the shopping experience, beginning with a customer’s first visit to the site.

    Also, to ensure a seamless transition for Arganica customers, Relay plans to launch a streamlined online user interface focused on simplifying the first order.

    “Relay Foods is designed to efficiently serve a range of customers -- from busy professionals and parents managing households, to people who care deeply about access to farm-to-table produce and the finest artisan foods, and, of course, those who like to avoid the crowds and hassles of today’s grocery retail environment,” added Buckner.

    Although the expansion will mean the establishment of fulfillment centers in each major city, capitalizing on the efficiency of the distribution model and local food producers throughout the company’s geographic footprint, Relay’s core operations will remain in Charlottesville.

    “Arganica members are highly engaged, counting on us to deliver a truly unique selection of local and artisanal goods to improve the health of their families and expand the palates of their friends and loved ones,” noted Caesar Layton, former president of Arganica, who becomes Relay’s SVP for business development and marketing. “We share commitment and conviction that the market is set to rapidly expand, and using the two companies’ joint assets we will continue to build interest in our service and provide distinct advantages to our customers.”

    Launched in 2009, Relay brings together more than 100 unique merchants, vendors and stores that collaborate with the company as an alternative distribution channel to expand the availability of their products.

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