As the GoPuff food-delivery service has boomed over the last three years, the din and clatter of its delivery trucks heading to and from its hub has greatly annoyed its neighbors in Philadelphia’s trendy Callowhill area.
Now, the hot-ticket business has announced that it is closing its hub and GoBeer center on North 12th Street between Hamilton and Noble Streets on the edge of North Philadelphia.
What it won’t say, though, is where it moved the hub.
The shift comes as GoPuff’s home delivery service has continued to expand nationally and become one of the most richly valued companies in Philadelphia. A month ago, it opened a new beer hub in Port Richmond, among other recent expansion.
“We relocated the majority of our business from 12th Street to a new facility earlier this evening,” spokeswoman Liz Romaine confirmed on Monday, after the Callowhill Neighborhood Association posted a note advising that “most” GoPuff operations on the block would cease overnight.
But Romaine would not disclose where the supply tractor-trailers and the fleets of independent GoPuff drivers that often blocked streets will now be based.
GoPuff delivers many items of a convenience store to homes for a $1.95 fee plus tips. In the Philadelphia area, that includes La Colombe coffee, Federal Donuts, beer, cleaning agents, over-the-counter drugs, groceries, and baby products.
Its staging sites include University City (at 38th and Chestnut, facing Penn president Amy Gutmann’s official residence) as well as centers in Port Richmond, Somerton, Queen Village, Manayunk, Germantown and West Chester, as well as in Newark, Del., and Cherry Hill, among others. About half deliver beer. The company has also accepted a New Jersey tax break to develop a regional center in Glassboro.
Neighbors had posted pictures on social media of GoPuff traffic choking streets and sidewalks. Residents have met multiple times with GoPuff managers, police officials and City Councilman Mark Squilla to complain of the heavy traffic and the late-night noise.
City officials have said privately that they expected the firm eventually to leave the site and that they were reluctant to crack down on one of the city’s few growth companies.
GoPuff’s neighbors in Manayunk and in Chicago, among other locations, have also complained of traffic. Many newer GoPuff locations sit on suburban commercial roads or in industrial parks built for truck traffic, unlike Center City’s narrow street grid.
The neighborhood association late Monday sent an email addressed “especially to those living and working in the vicinity of 11th -13th (streets) , Spring Garden (to) Noble: “GoPuff is moving most of their operations out of the Callowhill neighborhood” Monday night.
"The GoBeer store at 12th and Hamilton and the 2 addresses north of that location on 12th will no longer be rented by GoPuff. We are also told GoPuff will no longer rent the vacant lot bordered by Ridge, Buttonwood, 12th, and Spring Garden.”
Police, the association added, “have been notified. Please be patient as the move-out happens.”
GoPuff, started in 2013 by a pair of Drexel students, initially marketed its delivery service through a clever campaign rich with marijuana-smoking associations. But the company has lately emphasized convenience and a growing array of local and national products. That shift has been especially pronounced since the Saudi-funded, Japan-based Softbank Vision Fund committed up to $1 billion to GoPuff’s parent company, GoBrands, last year.
Earlier this fall, Accel Partners of Silicon Valley and New York-based D1 Capital Partners led an additional $380 million investment, valuing the company at $4 billion and making it one of the few Philadelphia-area start-ups to reach such a valuation in recent years.
The company employs more than 2,000 at more than 200 “mini-fulfillment” sites and warehouses around the U.S.