by Stephen Garner

As the pandemic is pushing more consumers to buy goods online, Darkstore, Inc. is expanding its digital shop FastAF to New York City.

First launched in Los Angeles, the irreverently-named digital shop enables consumers to purchase items from local brands and direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies and have their items delivered within two hours. The mobile app-based shop leverages dark stores, which are micro-fulfillment centers strategically placed throughout cities, to deliver in-demand products at an undeniably fast pace. The service is now live in New York City, as well as Los Angeles. In the future, FastAF aims to deliver to every neighborhood in the country.

FastAF aims to become the go-to shop for getting essentials, last-minute gifts, must-have self-care treats for consumers to pets, and everything in between. The service offers its users products from over 350 brands like Nike, Aesop, Sonos, Glossier, Public Goods, and Byredo.

FastAF’s core mission is three-pronged. Firstly, it aims to reinvent retail, especially when considering the world’s shrinking number of brick-and-mortar stores. By using micro-fulfillment centers located in the heart of Los Angeles and New York, FastAF is leveraging responsiveness quicker than any other company at present. 

These centers are actually dark stores occupying real estate left empty as businesses moved to shelter in place, bringing retail dollars and jobs where they’re needed the most — in contrast to behemoth retailers that have abandoned major retail and economic footprints in large cities throughout the U.S. The world sees vacancies; FastAF sees opportunities.

Secondly, FastAF seeks to empower brands by acting as a vector for them to get to their customers in a faster, easier manner. The entire delivery experience is personalized and community-centric, right down to fulfillment packaging: a premium FastAF tote bag).

Thirdly, FastAF believes that short-window delivery is no longer a luxury—it is a need. The startup offers deliveries within 2 hours of order placement (returns may also be processed within 2 hours).

“At a time when consumers want – and miss – shopping locally, FastAF is offering a digital shopping experience that allows them to discover and support both national, DTC and local brands that offer the essential products they need in a way that would be impossible without FastAF’s micro-fulfillment centers,” said founder and CEO Lee Hnetika. “FastAF is paving the way for DTC brands to develop a passionate local following and robust presence without having a physical storefront.”

The FastAF app is available now on iOS.