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Metra Stations Get 'Virtual Grocery Stores'

Peapod has set up 'virtual store aisles' at the train station, so commuters can shop for food and have it delivered to home or office. Chicago specialties like Big Bowl, Wildfire, are included.

If you're waiting for a train at the Metra station, you'll now be able to shop for groceries—including some Chicago specialty foods—at the same time. 

Peapod, a grocery delivery service with headquarters in Skokie and a huge warehouse in Lake Zurich, has set up "virtual shopping aisles" at 17 stations in the Chicago area.

Commuters can check out the Peapod display on signs at the stations, download a Peapod app on their smartphones, then scan the groceries they want for delivery to their homes or offices. 

The products aren't just cereal and milk, either.

"We're trying to showcase local products," said Elana Margolis, Peapod's director of public relations, explaining the store will carry Chicago specialties from Big Bowl, Wildfire, Eli's Cheesecake and Intelligentsia Coffee, as well as beer from Chicago's Goose Island brewery. 

You might want to order food in the morning for dinner that night, but Margolis said Peapod doesn't do same-day delivery. You can, however, shop on the way home and sometimes have the products delivered the next morning before you leave for work. Deliveries are from 6 to 9 a.m. in some parts of the Chicago area.

The Metra stations with Peapod virtual stores are: 

  • Morton Grove
  • Arlington Heights
  • Lake Cook (Deerfield)
  • Libertyville
  • Barrington
  • Buffalo Grove
  • Grayslake
  • Crystal Lake

Some consumers remember Peapod's association with Jewel-Osco. But for more than a decade, it has been its own grocer.

"We've got our own warehouse with eight temperature zones, and we do all our own picking and packing," Margolis said. "Your tomatoes are in a room that's just the right temperature for tomatoes."

The train station campaign will last three months, she said.

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