Before the rising popularity of contactless shopping that was impelled by the pandemic, Applestone Meat had already looked to technology as a contemporary business model to modernize its stores, using vending machines that allow customers to shop for a range of its butcher-quality products. It was a move that was simultaneously futuristic and retro.
Reminiscent of popular automats that go back more than a century in American culture, the Applestone stores, including its newest in Eastchester, offer customers the opportunity to shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “This mode of shopping offers both tremendous convenience and accessibility,” says Joshua Applestone, the company’s founder. Applestone Meat, which got its start as a processing plant for farmers, prides itself on selling organic meats and poultry at reasonable prices. The items in the shop are sold frozen and range from hot dogs to chorizo to rib-eye steaks. The inventory varies from season to season, and what each community is ordering is monitored so the machines are stocked with bestsellers.