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Whole Foods Opens First Permanent Online-Only Outpost

September 01, 2020 at 07:48PM

Whole Foods Market is opening a Brooklyn site the company is treating as a store but that will operate more like a satellite warehouse for online orders, USA Today reported Tuesday (Sept. 1).

The operation is the first of its type for Whole Foods, according to the report.

Nicole Wescoe, Whole Foods president of the Northeast region, told USA Today the Amazon-owned company was planning the location before COVID-19 drove up demand for delivery and curbside pickup.

“We started working on this over a year ago and it was really an opportunity for Amazon and Whole Foods Market to come together and create this vision for the future of grocery online,” Wescoe said, per the news outlet.

As for the future of such sites, Wescoe said, “We’re always evaluating ways to increase grocery delivery. Delivery is here to stay. People like options and this is an option that they really love.”

In the early weeks of coronavirus-related shutdowns, Amazon and Whole Foods scrambled to meet a surge in demand for grocery delivery. Amazon temporarily created a waiting list for customers hoping to sign up for grocery delivery and some Whole Foods locations were temporarily closed to customer foot traffic and converted into fulfillment centers for online orders.

In another response to customers’ rapid adoption of low-contact grocery shopping, Amazon is planning more stores where shoppers fill grocery carts equipped with technology that does the work historically performed by cashiers.

As futuristic as grocery carts that perform checkout functions may be, a development currently in the works could make the carts seem old-school. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week gave Amazon a key approval that will be required if the company is successful in its bid to deliver small packages by drone. The FAA approval comes after a years-long drone development process Amazon began in 2013.

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