For many small, neighborhood grocery and convenience shops, it wasn’t necessary to offer online shopping options - until the COVID-19 pandemic and strict social distancing rules arrived. With millions of stores facing a shutdown, AB InBev quickly developed Tienda Cerca, a free, online delivery platform that’s keeping small, local stores open across Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Panama and Honduras.

Tienda Cerca makes it possible for neighborhood shops to offer safe home delivery of essential groceries and goods to help consumers comply with stay at home orders across eight countries, including Mexico.

“AB InBev has deep local connections in the places where we operate and we wanted to share our resources and expertise to help these vulnerable businesses and important partners quickly adapt,” says Paula Habib, eCommerce Business Lead for ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group at AB InBev.

“Tienda Cerca is a solution that allows millions of shops to continue to operate, and support their families and the local economy, while also abiding by regulations and guidelines required to contain the spread of the virus.”

Shoppers can place their online grocery delivery orders via the Tienda Cerca mobile app or online, at no cost to them or the business owner.

In Ecuador, the AB InBev Sustainable Supply Program uses our fleet and infrastructure to safely deliver goods to small stores, including items from local farms, as well as antibacterial gel and gloves to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

After starting with 3,000 stores, Tienda Cerca has grown exponentially in Ecuador, to more than 70,000 registered establishments. The platform has captured the attention of key opinion leaders, the media and even the President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, who described it as an efficient alternative enabling people to stay home.

Martha Gonzalez, Legal & Corporate Affairs Director for AB InBev Ecuador, shared that nearly 150,000 neighborhood stores are the first place Ecuadorian families go to stock up on supplies. In April, 65% of these shops were forced to close due to restrictions put in place to battle COVID-19. Nearly all felt the impact of the pandemic, with many shop owners facing massive economic hardship.

"After polling nearly 20,000 shop owners, we learned there were two ways we could help: ensure the safe supply of groceries and basic necessities to the shops, and offer an easy way for shops to fulfill and deliver online orders," said Gonzalez. "Together with the national government and our food and beverage partners, we established the Sustainable Supply Program using our fleet and infrastructure to deliver goods to the shops, including items from local farms, as well as antibacterial gel and gloves to help stop the spread of the virus." TiendaCerca.ec then made it possible for families to order online, and for shop keepers to deliver.

"Throughout my professional career, I have never felt more proud. This is an extraordinary team of people; committed to our country, helping those who need it most and doing everything possible to ensure that aid reaches all corners of Ecuador. We are truly acting like owners, with resilience, to transform lives. I believe what we did together will be part of history, showing how a country - our Ecuador - united and in solidarity overcame one of its greatest crises," said Gonzalez. "This is our legacy." 

In Mexico alone, more than 20,000 neighborhood stores are registered with the app and serving more than 120,000 customers. Shopkeepers say they have already seen an increase in sales and with the addition of 2,500 bikes donated by Grupo Modelo and partners such as Pepsi, the program is expected to see continued success.

Additionally, in Colombia, our Bavaria brand, along with partners including Alquería, Nestlé, Colombina and others, also donated 5,000 bicycles, shopping bags, suitcases and hygiene kits to assist shop owners in making deliveries.