High-tech Amazon Fresh grocery store opening Thursday in East Long Beach

Amazon’s most recent foray into the grocery business, Amazon Fresh, will open a location at 7 a.m. Thursday March 18 at the site of the former Haggen and Albertson grocery stores at the Lakewood Plaza Marketplace shopping center, at 6235 Spring St. in East Long Beach.

Councilwoman Stacy Mungo Flanigan, in whose district the new high-tech grocery store is located, attended a preview Wednesday.

“It was great to meet the team there and to see how excited and enthusiastic they are,” she said, adding that she got to “do the cart experience,” referring to Amazon Fresh’s multifunction Amazon Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that allows users to find items, track purchases and walk out of the store skipping the checkout line. Shoppers’ purchases are billed to your Amazon account. There is also the traditional check-out option for those wary of the latest gizmos.

“At home, we just say, ‘Alexa, add grapes to the shopping list,’ and once you’re ready to shop, your Amazon app tells you in what aisle you’ll find your items, and it sorts your list by location so you don’t have to zig-zag around the store looking for things,” Mungo Flanigan said.

Currently, the online retail juggernaut operates 11 Amazon Fresh supermarkets in California and Illinois, but it is all-in for rapid expansion with plans to open more than two dozen stores across the country in the coming weeks and months, according to trade publication Supermarket News.

In addition to groceries, Amazon Fresh will also feature lockers for Amazon deliveries as well as a tech section selling Amazon products including its Fire TV Stick, Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and Alexa accessories.

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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.