Delivery app goPuff hopes to add booze

Delivery app goPuff hopes to add booze

URBANA — Have a 2 a.m. case of the munchies?

In Champaign-Urbana, there's now an app for that.

Introducing goPuff — a drugstore delivery service where everything from Chubby Hubby ice cream to Charmin bath tissue is just one smartphone click away, guaranteed to be delivered as soon as possible from an Urbana warehouse.

The Urbana City Council will hear more about the 3-year-old venture that is new to C-U tonight, when it votes on increasing the number of Class C retail liquor licenses from 21 to 22.

If that happens, a new category will be added to the app's local lineup, which already includes ones dubbed "Healthies," "Eaaats" and "For the crib" — "Gobooze," offering different varieties of beer and wine.

The brainchild of then-Philadelphia college students Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, goPuff now serves 24 areas in some capacity.

C-U was added this fall, joining mostly metropolitan areas and college towns, including Big Ten cities Bloomington, Ind.; Columbus, Ohio; State College, Pa.; and West Lafayette, Ind.

With millennials as its target audience, goPuff offers deliveries in the area from 12 p.m. to 4:20 a.m.

"We do get a lot of college students, but it's usually a mix," said local goPuff delivery driver Amy Sprouls. "Some campus, some downtown, some apartment buildings."

GoPuff has a minimum order of $8.95, and all orders less than $49 come with a $1.95 delivery charge. Before tobacco or alcohol can be purchased, the app will scan a buyer's ID.

When an order comes in to the company's Urbana warehouse, Sprouls said a manager assembles it before she delivers it in her own vehicle.

goPuff isn't alone in the online grocery shopping market, with competitors that include Instacart, Amazon Grocery and FreshDirect.

Its marketing approach, however, is more relaxed than most.

A call to the company's main line is met with an automated message that welcomes "questions ... or if you just need a friendly chat — we're down for that, too."