SAN JOSE -- Instacart, which promises home-delivered groceries within an hour, continued its march across the country Tuesday by expanding into eight communities in and around San Jose.

Customers who live in the areas of Cupertino, Saratoga, West Valley, San Jose State, Willow Glen, downtown San Jose, Berryessa and North San Jose can place grocery delivery orders starting Tuesday via Safeway, Whole Foods and Costco, with additional retailers coming online in the next few weeks, said Heather Wake, Instacart's general manager for West Coast operations.

Since its founding in September 2012, Instacart has rapidly expanded from its home base in San Francisco to Millbrae and down the Peninsula to Santa Clara -- and as far away as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

Last week, Instacart also began operating in Los Angeles.

"We have been getting a ton of requests for the San Jose area," Wake said. "San Jose is the next place to be."

Instacart has yet to generate a profit. And Wake declined to reveal how many customers it has -- or how many people have used the service. But she said demand has "exceeded our expectations."

Instacart charges $14.99 for one-hour delivery, but most customers prefer a two-hour delivery window, which costs $3.99 for minimum orders of $10.

The company will waive its delivery charges for orders over $35 with an annual $99 service called Instacart Express.

Instacart is fighting for traction in a space rapidly becoming crowded against name brands such as Amazon, Google and Walmart.


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But unlike bigger competitors such as Amazon that rely on warehouses, distribution centers and trucks to store and move groceries, Instacart contracts with drivers to shop locally, based on orders that customers place -- and pay for -- online.

Nolanne Chang, 28, is anxious to give Instacart a try based on the recommendations of a friend.

"She uses it up in San Francisco all the time and just loves it," Chang said.

Chang just moved to Third Street near San Jose State, where the local market "doesn't have everything we need."

"I also don't have a car, so it'll be really convenient," Chang said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I've already downloaded the app on my phone." Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.