Google, Amazon, Walmart Want to Bring Groceries to Your Door

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On a recent weekend I opened my door to a different kind of salesman.

Zac Harrison is a partner with Fresh Harvest of Georgia, which has gotten into the business of delivering produce from area farmers to homes and offices.

It's not cheap. Most of their packages cost $3/pound and more for things you might pay $1/pound for at a nearby market. But it's fresh, much of it is grown locally, and it comes to you.

"We have a couple of refrigerated trucks," Harrison said, "small box trucks. We have a few routes each day. The same trucks do the pick-ups. We recycle our baskets." If you care about buying local, and supporting the growth of local produce, it's a good thing.

Listening to Harrison, however, I felt like it was 1999 all over again. Back then an Internet start-up called Webvan came into Atlanta, offering grocery deliveries. I tried it. The delivery guy gave my kids bottled water. It was the first time they'd seen it. But Webvan crashed with the Internet bust.

Can you really make money at this? Both start-ups and retailing giants now think they can.

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InstaCart is backed by almost $55 million in venture capital. They entered Atlanta in June, using an "infrastructure light" plan based on freelance "personal shoppers" going to local stores and an algorithm, like the Uber ride-sharing service, that matches their location to incoming orders.

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