Atadel helps underserved communities get groceries conveniently

· The Pulse

When Temi Kayode and his brother Ayomikun first moved to Canada from Nigeria, it was difficult to get the foods they were used to without access to a vehicle.

African ingredients like fufu, garri, and poundo yam cannot be found in stores like Costco, Superstore, or Walmart, he said.

"African stores, most of them did not have an online presence," Kayode told Taproot. "The way you can order from Walmart, you can't just order from an African store like that… And the last problem I wanted to face as an immigrant was access to food. Food should be the least of my problems."

Kayode and his brother are the founders of Atadel, a food and grocery delivery service that focuses on underserved communities in Edmonton, such as members of the African and Caribbean diasporas. The two launched the business in 2022, which recently won the "New Startup of the Year" award at the third annual YEG Startup Community Awards.

Titi Abdul, owner of the Afro-Caribbean grocery store The Food Plug, agreed there's a gap when it comes to the availability of African stores in the city. She added that being accessible to customers who don't have a car is another challenge, and Atadel's service helps with that problem.

"We have quite a number of African students here, and a majority of them don't drive," she said. "It could be quite tedious to, you know, taking the bus to go do groceries… Taking the bus, especially in winter, could be a pain."

Abdul said she heard about Atadel from a friend about six months ago. She then contacted the service and signed up to partner with them.

"It takes off the burden of having to do the deliveries by ourselves," she said.

Ayomikun Kayode, left, and Temi Kayode, right, look at a cellphone while wearing shirts with Atadel branding, with Edmonton's river valley in the background

Brothers Ayomikun and Temi Kayode launched Atadel in 2022 to help make grocery shopping easier for African and Caribbean communities in Edmonton. (Supplied)

Atadel makes its revenue through commissions charged per order. Kayode said its current customer base is more than 1,000 users, with that number growing daily. The company also has about 10 drivers working as independent contractors.

What makes Atadel different from other delivery services like Instacart or Doordash, he said, is the focus on communities that have been ignored in the past.

"We have a market we have mastered, not just because we are part of that community, but because we understand the community very well," he said.

While Kayode said he saw grocery accessibility as a problem for years, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed him and his brother to finally tackle the issue themselves.

However, finding the money to make it a reality was a challenge. Kayode recalls a meeting with a program officer at Futurpreneur about a loan to start the business with. The meeting didn't go as planned.

"The guy literally told us that it's not going to work, you guys are dreaming, you can't do what Instacart is doing," he said.

To launch the business, Kayode said he had to sell his stocks and Ayomikun had to sell his 2020 Mercedes-Benz.

"It was basically just both of us pulling our resources together, using our credit cards, lines of credits, and stuff like that," he said. "There was really no support. We don't come from a rich family, we just had to struggle to do it ourselves."

Kayode had a better experience when he participated in the Black Founders Hub accelerator, organized by the BIPOC Foundation.

Atadel has also partnered with other stores beyond food and groceries, adding the clothing store Jevglam to the service.

The business is currently only serving Edmonton, but Kayode said the plan is to expand outside the city once the business becomes more of a household name — which the New Startup of the Year award helps with.

"People will be curious what Atadel is, and they will want to go check out what we're doing," he said. "We don't have much money for marketing, so it's free marketing for us."