When Laura Cook visited the online social networking site Nextdoor and read threads of messages by people concerned about the safety and stock of grocery stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, she took action. Together with her partner, Justin Pollard, the Mountain View resident created a website to help provide their community with relevant information on local stores.
“It seemed like there was a demand to know that sort of information, particularly for people more vulnerable not wanting to go looking around a lot of stores for one thing they need,” Cook said. “It felt like a little project was in order.”
Their Grocery Status website lists stores in Los Altos, Mountain View and beyond, providing details such as wait times, safety and inventory. All of the information comes from local residents who have recently visited the stores. Those who review the site before shopping are encouraged to provide an update after they return home.
Since Grocery Status went live nearly two weeks ago, the founders said approximately 14,000 people have visited the site. The feedback Cook and Pollard have received has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The response has been pretty awesome,” said Pollard, a San Francisco resident. “We got really good feedback on Facebook and LinkedIn posts, which was exciting.”
The process of developing the website was not the short project they originally planned, according to Cook. Even with Pollard’s experience as a software engineer, Grocery Status took nearly two weeks to launch. Since then, they have added new features – including a search-by-product option – and dedicated countless hours to further improve the site.
“We’re up until 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. on the weekends trying to build features for Grocery Status,” Pollard said. “It definitely gets hard, but it’s exciting the next day when you see that you’re making a difference for people using the site.”
Pollard and Cook said they hope to continue expanding the site, even noting the possibility of receiving information directly from the grocery stores themselves. Until then, Grocery Status remains a tool for local residents to find high-demand items and stay safe while shopping.
“This is a really hard time for a lot of people – just getting out of the house can be really difficult and really stressful,” Cook said. “We just thought this is a way we could contribute a little something, because we’re lucky enough to have what we have.”
For more information on Grocery Status, visit grocerystatus.com.