You can find a store like raley’s, or even a place like Kroger, in Texas, and even have some fun buying from them, but there’s a catch.
You have to get a full-fledged license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which is required by the state’s state-licensed food service provider.
That means you have to register your business and pay a fee, and that includes the actual sale price of your product.
You can buy a product online, but you have no way of knowing how much money it’ll cost to deliver it to the shelves.
That’s why I got in touch with the folks at Vail, the company that provides the technology for those licensed food stores.
“The whole point of Vail is to make it easy for customers to buy in the future,” CEO David Ehrlich told me.
The company plans to launch an app in the next few weeks that lets you purchase food online, using Vail’s technology, and then return it to your store for pickup.
The app will be free to use and available for iOS and Android, but the company plans on making the app open source in the coming months.
For now, the only way to purchase Vail products online is by visiting a Vail store and buying an in-person order.
Ehrbach said that’s going to change over time, though, with the company planning to open a number of locations throughout the state in the near future.
I asked Ehrbaugh if Vail was looking to expand its footprint beyond Texas.
“Vail is focused on the United States, but we’ll be expanding in other states in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand,” he said.
“We’re definitely looking to do some international expansion, because Vail really is an online grocery store.”
For now though, the technology is designed for customers in the U.S. and Canada, where the company doesn’t offer any other services.
You may also have noticed that Vail doesn’t list any locations in New York or California.
It’s unclear why.
For some customers, though—like myself—this might be a good reason to take a trip out west.
The Austin-based company announced plans to open an Austin store this fall, and Ehrach said it’ll be open to the public from April 3 through March 1.
The plan is to expand to other parts of Texas by the end of 2019.
I’m curious to see if Vaxellas future in Texas will involve opening a new store.
“This is really our first real foray into a major city in the States,” Ehrbacher told me in a statement.
“Texas is an extremely competitive market, and Vail believes it’s important to be part of this ecosystem and bring in new customers.”
Vail also has plans to add a second store in New Mexico, and in the meantime, it’s offering to help customers buy food online from a variety of places.
“Our goal is to provide the most convenient and cost-effective food delivery services to our customers, and we’re excited to be a part of their journey,” Eich said.
Vail has already opened an online shopping cart, which you can find on the company’s website.
It offers a range of products from frozen pizzas to pizza-making equipment.