KTLA reporter Rich DeMuro reports on the Amazon Fresh store that opened in Woodland Hills on September 17, 2020.
According to a reliable source who wants to remain unnamed, an Amazon Fresh store is planned for the retail space of the former Dominick’s Finer Foods at Town & Country Center at Arlington Heights Road and Palatine Road. About nine months after Amazon opened its first Amazon Go Grocery in Seattle at 610 East Pike Street, and two months after opening its first larger format “Amazon Fresh” grocery store in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, the giant online store is apparently planning to open a physical Amazon Fresh grocery store in at 325 East Palatine Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois — the site of the former Dominick’s Finer Foods space.
Interior work demolition work, a new roof and preparation for build-out is underway at the Town & Country retail space of the former Dominick’s store this November 2020, but the purpose of the work has not been confirmed by officials. A representative at the Village of Arlington Heights Building & Life Safety Department confirmed the space at 325 East Palatine Road had a permit for demolition, but stated there was no known business preparing to occupy the space.
Amazon has already announced hiring for Amazon Fresh stores in Illinois in Bloomingdale, Naperville, Oak Lawn, and Schaumburg, but not in Arlington Heights. A store has also been planned for Morton Grove. The timetable for the opening of the Illinois stores is not yet known.
After some secrecy, the Amazon Fresh store in Schaumburg was confirmed as early as May 2020, but initially the precise name of the store was unknown. The 43,000 square foot store in Schaumburg, which has not opened yet, is located at the former Babies ‘R’ Us store at 16 East Golf Road.
There is some brand name confusion because Amazon Fresh has served as the name of online sales with quick delivery from Amazon’s online grocery store. On one Amazon page viewed on Friday, November 6, 2020, Amazon Fresh is described as follows: “Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery and pickup service in select cities.” On November 6, 2020 there was no mention or referral link regarding physical stores with the name “Amazon Fresh.” In an apparent brand shift or expansion, the first Amazon Fresh physical grocery store opened in mid-September 2020 in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. According to the The Verge, the Woodland Hills Amazon Fresh initially functioned fulfilling online orders only beginning in April 2020. The months functioning as a so-called “Dark Store” fulfilled orders, but did not allow the public to shop in the store. This apparently was Amazon’s adaptation to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Then in September 2020, the Woodland Hills store opened to the public.
According to The Verge report by Jon Porter, the Amazon Fresh store format will not use its “Just Walk Out” cashierless tech that is present in the Amazon Go Grocery stores. The Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills is the first location where shoppers will be able to use Amazon’s Dash Carts, which customers log into using the Amazon app, and are equipped with cameras and sensors to identify the items that customer select. The Dash Cart is compatible with a shopping list made using Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Customers can automatically pay without having to wait in line at the checkout. Amazon says there will also be Echo Show devices dotted around the store to help users find their way around, according to The Verge.
The new Amazon Fresh format is a combination of in-store and online shopping, offering consumers a variety of products at lower price points than Whole Foods. Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon for $13.7 billion in 2017, and is known for its focus on organic goods and doesn’t sell products with artificial ingredients. The Amazon Fresh grocery store is apparently a high-tech version of a grocery store categorized somewhere between a standard full-service grocery store and a Whole Foods Market store. Amazon Fresh stores carry 365 by Whole Foods Market products and some other Whole Foods Market products, but products found in traditional grocery stores that aren’t found in Whole Foods Market store are available at Amazon Fresh.
Amazon Go Grocery is an automated convenience store format that is about 10,000 square feet. Amazon Go Grocery is a much smaller format than the Amazon Fresh store format, which is over 40,000 square feet. You need an Amazon account to shop at an Amazon Go Grocery store. You don’t need an Amazon account to shop at an Amazon Fresh store.
The Arlington Heights Amazon Fresh store will be located in the second largest retail space at Town & Country Center. The space is 50,041 and only slightly smaller than the retail space for Dick’s Sporting Goods, according to a document published on the website of Visconsi Companies, Ltd., which manages Town & Country Center. As of Friday, November 6, 2020, the Visconsi Companies website lists the former Dominick’s space as “available.”
According to a CNBC report, Amazon Fresh stores are designed to balance the needs of shoppers who order online and shoppers who still prefer to shop in person. There’s a dedicated section at the Amazon Fresh store where customers can pick up products sold on amazon.com or grocery orders that have been placed online. Amazon customers can also return their Amazon packages for free.
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