Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

With the COVID-19 pandemic around us, more people are hesitant to spend too much time in the grocery stores, but still need groceries. Or maybe they’re just too busy or have a new baby at home, or simply dislike shopping, period. This is where Khai Pond, of Shopping with Khai, steps in. She selects, purchases, and delivers groceries to Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Bellevue, and Potterville for a flat delivery fee plus tip.
She is able to shop beyond her local area, but there may be a slightly higher delivery charge for greater distances.
Pond started personal shopping through Shipt early in 2019. By the end of 2019, she mustered up the courage to start her own personal shopping business, having developed relationships with a few of her customers who began to text her directly to shop for them, and “Shopping with Khai” was born.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to start my own business, but never knew what to do or where to start,” Pond commented. “I definitely didn’t think it would be grocery shopping, but I’m good at it, and I’m fast. I oddly really enjoy it.”
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic really boosted her business, as people sought a solution to avoid going into stores. “During the first few months it was insane; some weeks I did 100 orders and worked seven days a week,” she said.
“I wear my mask faithfully. I sanitize like crazy, and I shop quickly,” she added.
Now she is doing five to eight orders each day and is often completely booked on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Eight-hour shopping days are now the usual. She takes Sundays off to have time with her family.
This business is how Pond supports her family of eight, she explained.
“It actually works out great for my large family,” Pond said.  “I can run home in between orders and can work less if they need me; I get to build my schedule around my family needs.”
“As a professional shopper, I strive for excellence on every order, no matter what the size of it is,” Pond said. “I don’t require a membership fee, there are no price markups, and there is no time commitment for my service.”
She figures she is saving her clients money in the long run, due to the upcharges and fees that other services require.
Building relationships with her clients is a top priority to Pond. “I get to know you,” she explained, “and when I’m out shopping, I remember the things you needed and if I find them, I grab them. You have direct contact with me, no customer service or waiting on hold. And if I mess up on something, I fix it right away.”
The easiest way to place an order, Pond explained, is to go online to a merchant and select the needed items, and then screenshot the list for her. She is flexible with customers who are not computer-savvy or don’t text.
“I love the cute handwritten lists I get from some of my elderly clients,” Pond said. “They have beautiful cursive writing, but sometimes it’s a little hard to read.”
“I take each customer with pride, and they become friends not just customers,” Pond explained. “I keep their order information private. I want repeat customers, so they get my best every time! I want them to be able to enjoy the luxury of home delivery without paying extra for it.”
Wanting to give back to her community, Pond estimates she has delivered about 100 orders for free to families in need.
To contact Shopping with Khai, call or text her at 517-588-8098. You can also find her on Facebook at shoppingwithkhai.