Earlier this year, Whole Foods temporarily converted a few of its locations into online-only stores to keep up with much higher grocery delivery demands brought about by COVID-19-related lockdowns. Its new location in Brooklyn isn’t just a temporary online-only store, though — it’s the first one the Amazon-owned supermarket chain built specifically to fulfill orders placed online.
That means customers can’t walk in there to buy anything even though it has shelves of products laid out like a typical supermarket — something that may not help the Industry City development’s controversial reputation as a “luxury mall” that could worsen gentrification. The team members the company hired to work in it will focus on receiving orders, shopping for customers and preparing items for delivery.
Amazon opened the new location on September 1st to exclusively serve customers in the Brooklyn area. In its announcement, the company said that grocery delivery continues to be one of its fastest-growing businesses and that online grocery sales tripled year-over-year for the second quarter of 2020. “[W]e're thrilled to increase access to grocery delivery. It’s never been more important,” the announcement reads.
While the new location could help Whole Foods fulfill the bigger demand for grocery delivery these days, Amazon actually started working on the project a year ago. Since people need access to online services now more than ever, it might not be the last permanent online-only store Amazon and Whole Foods open.