Amazon Fresh store is coming to East Long Beach

One of the first Amazon Fresh stores will open at the former Haggen/Albertsons location at 6235 E. Spring St., ending long debates and wild-guessing on such social media sites as Nextdoor, which has been abuzz with speculation and wish-lists over what will go into the space since Haggen closed its store five years ago.

Christopher Koontz, deputy director of Development Services in Long Beach, confirmed that Amazon Fresh has filed a business license request and has discussed a sign permit allowing the store to put up the signage on the building.

No opening date has been announced due to COVID-19 supply chain complications, an Amazon spokesperson said. The company is still working to finalize an open date but job postings will go live first thing Tuesday morning.

The news of the Long Beach store comes less than two weeks after the first Amazon Fresh store’s opening in Woodland Hills on Sept. 17.

Amazon Fresh shoppers will find an array of tech features not found in a typical grocery store, including the ability to use Amazon’s multifunctional Dash Carts that allow users to find items, track purchases and skip checkout lines by pairing their mobile apps or shopping lists to buy one or two bags of groceries. Sensors identify the cart’s contents and payment is automatically made through the shoppers’ credit cards in their Amazon accounts.

Amazon’s Alexa technology will also be available to help shoppers find items and navigate store aisles by chatting with Alexa at one of the store’s kiosks. The store is expected to offer organic food, such as those offered at Amazon’s higher-priced Whole Foods chain, but Amazon Fresh will offer more commoners’ fare such as Coca-Cola, Cheetos and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, which are not on the shelves of Whole Foods, as well as comparatively low-cost groceries.

The new store will offer same-day delivery and curbside pick-up, package pick-up for other goods sold on Amazon and package-less return service, in which shopper can bring items purchased at Amazon without the package, and the store will refund their money and ship the product back at no cost.

Amazon Fresh will also feature in-store prepared food and freshly baked bread.

The Amazon Fresh chain is expected to open as many as two dozen stores in the near future. The Woodland Hills store is currently open, as is one in Irvine. Also on the list for opening soon are stores in Northridge and North Hollywood, as well as three in the Chicago area.

The Long Beach store will be another example of Amazon’s paradoxical backward foray from online services to brick and mortar shops, which includes more than 20 bookstores, a couple dozen Amazon Go convenience stores and several Amazon 4-Star stores featuring gift items that have earned four or more stars by online product reviewers.

Secrecy has surrounded the store’s year-long construction, with contractors and city officials signing non-disclosure agreements and various public-record permits being signed and applied for by the property’s landlord rather than any of Amazons LLCs.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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