When Madison Murphy prayed for God to bring a change to her life, she didn’t expect to find the answer within the aisles of the local grocery store. But nine months later, the 24-year-old entrepreneur has managed to turn her love of list-making into not just a business, but a ministry.
“I’ve taught piano for six or seven years, and I was praying for something new,” she said. “And I love lists, and I love being organized, and I’ve always grocery shopped for my family. And I was like, ‘Hey, I could do this.’”
With help from her entrepreneurial father, Murphy turned the idea into Full Pantry, a grocery delivery service that encompasses the Greater Birmingham area. Now, she spends her days perusing the aisles of Whole Foods in platform heels and wearing a beaming smile.
Murphy’s customers range from stay-at-home moms to young professionals to entire office staffs, some of whom she shops for every week. While it took some time to work out the logistics, she said that getting to know the stores — and the clients — has made everything run more smoothly. “My customers now that I do every single week — they don’t have to be as specific anymore,” Murphy said. “Which is nice; I feel like it helps them.”
That’s something that Michele Davis, a homeschooling mother of 10, agrees with. Davis, who used to do her shopping through an app-based delivery service, found Full Pantry’s personalized service to be a refreshing change. “I love it,” she said. “It’s fantastic. And there are so many different times in your life when it would be useful.”
While Murphy’s shopping frequently takes her to stores like Walmart, Publix, and Whole Foods, she is willing to go wherever her clients need. She has delivered from well-known Birmingham businesses including Pepper Place and the Juice Bar. She even spent part of the summer visiting local farms to obtain fresh berries for clients, “because we do want to be local,” she said.
For the most part, Murphy runs things on her own, shopping and making deliveries on the days that she isn’t teaching piano. But when the two conflict, she calls in reinforcements. “My sister helps with all our marketing stuff, and when I’ve gotten desperate, my mom has helped me shop before,” she said. “But at this point, it’s kind of just me as far as shopping goes.”
She plans to change that, however, eventually hoping to hire on shoppers to serve each section of the Birmingham area. “I think the long-term goal would be able to just manage it and not have to do any of the shopping myself,” she said.
More than anything else, Murphy wants Full Pantry to help people. “I want it to be as much of a ministry as it is a business,” she said. “And I feel like it can be, but it’s just figuring out how to get to those people who have the need.”
In the future, Murphy wants the service to be a blessing to people who find it difficult or impossible to shop on their own, like members of the elderly community or those living with long-term illnesses. While she has not yet been able to serve in those areas, she is trusting God to continue taking the business — and the ministry — in the direction it needs to go. “He has been so faithful,” she said. “He’s teaching me patience.”
While a year ago, Murphy had no idea that she would soon be building her own business in the world of produce and baked goods, the new opportunity has been a blessing that she someday hopes to share with all of Birmingham. For now, she is spreading her smiles one grocery bag at a time.
Full Pantry’s services are available for 20 percent of the grocery bill with a minimum $15 fee and a maximum $40 fee. To request Full Pantry’s services for anything from weekly delivery to one-time events, visit fullpantrybham.com.