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Tech-driven conveniences creeping into New Hampshire

  • Krista Edmands uses the Hannaford To Go service intercom at the grocery store on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Krista Edmands uses the Hannaford To Go service intercom at the grocery store on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel loads groceries for Krista Edmands at the grocery store in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel loads groceries for Krista Edmands at the grocery store in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel finishes loading groceries for Krista Edmands, left, holding her 9-month-old son Thomas, at in the grocery store parking lot in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel finishes loading groceries for Krista Edmands, left, holding her 9-month-old son Thomas, at in the grocery store parking lot in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Krista Edmands uses the Hannaford To Go service intercom at the grocery store on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)
  • Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel loads groceries for Krista Edmands at the grocery store in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)
  • Hannaford service leader Jessica Gammel finishes loading groceries for Krista Edmands, left, holding her 9-month-old son Thomas, at in the grocery store parking lot in Goffstown on August 22, 2014. Edmands, who has two other sons, says  the new Hannaford To Go service is much easier than shopping at the store with her children.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

It’s the rosy promise of living in a modern, tech-driven world: Push a button, and your errands are done.

But until recently, conveniences like grocery delivery, same-day delivery for online orders, and on-call car services have been concentrated in populous urban centers like San Francisco, New York City and Boston.

Some of them still are – but not all.

PeaPod, which delivers groceries from Stop & Shop to doorsteps, has been serving southern tier towns like Salem and Nashua since 2009, but there’s no plans to move northward yet, a spokesman said. Uber, a mobile-based ride-sharing service, is doing preliminary market testing in the state.

And the Hannaford grocery chain is preparing to expand its curbside grocery pick-up service to Concord soon, after a three-year pilot program in Dover.

Krista Edmands of Weare has used the curbside pick-up option about five times since it launched at the Goffstown store, she said.

Instead of wrangling her three boys – ages 6, 3, and 9 months – into a carriage and through a 90-minute shopping excursion, she fills out a digital form, selects a time to pick up and heads to the store, usually on her lunch break. The order form has space for notes about produce – bananas not too ripe, or avocados very soft – and lists all the same sales available inside.

A Hannaford worker meets Edmands at the designated location with her bagged groceries, swipes her credit card at the designated register and sends her on her way home.

“It has been wonderful,” she said. “My husband works weekends, so I would have to drive all three of them in with me. This has just been time saving, it’s been stressless, it’s been amazing.”

She first learned about the Hannaford To Go program when she saw signs at the store.

“I was shocked. When Stop & Shop was around, I wanted to do PeaPod but it was always in Massachusetts,” she said.

The only hang-up so far has been that the more popular the program is, the harder it is to get an ideal time for picking up, she said. In the past few weeks, she has placed her order two or three days ahead to get her choice of pick-up times.

Hannaford began a pilot curbside pick-up program at its Dover store in March 2011. In addition to the Goffstown location, four Maine stores already have the service. The Hannaford in Concord is poised to be the third location in New Hampshire, though there is no set launch date, spokesman Eric Blom said.

The store already has a special area inside for storing the groceries, including refrigerators and freezers, branded with the Hannaford To Go logo on the wall.

The service is free the first time, and $5 per order less than $125 after that.

“Volume and demographics are considerations, but not the only considerations,” Blom said.

Volume – a critical mass of people with the same interests – is key for other tech-driven convenience services.

Uber is advertising in the state to gauge how many drivers would be interested in applying to work with the ride-share company, so if it launches here, enough rides would be available for interested customers, spokesman Taylor Bennett said.

Lyft, a similar service that operates in big cities including Boston, doesn’t have any plans to expand in the state, according to a company statement.

“There’s not a magic number for drivers, but our expansions are based on learning about the population and existing transportation alternatives in a city,” Bennett said. “We are testing viability in New Hampshire. We’re in the early stages of seeing what interest is there.”

If it launched, drivers would submit to background checks and ensure their vehicles meet company specifications, then post on the app when they are available to provide rides. Interested riders would download the app and use it to request a ride when needed.

It’s big in cities like Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City, where finding a cab isn’t always easy, and in college towns like Chapel Hill, N.C.

So the Granite State might be a long ways from Uber Cornerstore, a pilot program the company launched this week in D.C. It promises to deliver – within about 10 minutes – orders for common household goods like batteries or shampoo, without the need to pay the driver, since it will bill through the app just like it does for rides.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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