PUBLISHED: 12:04 PM on Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Smith braves frontier of organic food service

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Shelly Smith stays at home with her daughter Arabellah thanks to her business Frontier Organics, which she runs from her home computer.
Pioneering the way to home delivery grocery service, Shelly Smith has made a business in distributing organic foods.

Smith started Frontier Organics in January with a couple of customers.

She said the business started to grow by word of mouth, and people enjoy the convenience of shopping at home.

"I'm having a lot of fun," Smith said.

Smith has assisted customers in shopping online at their homes or from her own home and sends a list of specials by e-mail each month.

After she collects orders by a certain date each month, the products arrive to Juneau by barge. Smith then breaks down the orders at her home and delivers individual orders to each customer.

Smith said to make finding products less overwhelming, she offers her customers individualized shopping lists to fit their needs or interests.

Customer Judy Rice said she uses the service for specialty items and prepared box foods.

"I've found it very convenient and economical," Rice said. "The items are quick to use and healthy. It's especially convenient to have a shelf full and know it's healthy for us."

Smith only delivers in to the Lemon Creek, Mendenhall Valley and Auke Bay areas.

Having stumbled upon home delivery grocery Web sites, Smith said she thought people in Juneau would like the option to buy more organic products. Smith does not offer fresh produce and will soon have refrigerated and frozen foods available.

She said the products are in bulk-size quantities.

"So far it's been very good. It's cost effective for the customer because I don't have to pay for shelf space or retail space," Smith said.

As a single mother of 5 year-old Summer Grace, a kindergartner at Glacier Valley School, and 5 month-old Arabellah, Smith said the homemade business fits her needs.

"It's great. I'm so excited to be working in this industry and provide my family with the best qualities available to us," Smith said.

"Organic food is the best decision someone can make to protect the health of the planet."

Smith said Summer Grace chose the sun logo for her business and has become involved in organizing the orders and looking at invoices.

"It's a great learning experience for her, and she takes pride in helping out," Smith said.