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Amazon Fresh Opens 2nd Chicago-Area Store Amid Twin Cities Rumors

Grocer’s 8th location welcomes shoppers in Schaumburg, Ill.
Amazon Fresh Naperville
Photograph by WGB Staff

Amazon Fresh opened its second Chicago-area location today. The approximately 45,000-square-foot store at 16 East Golf Road in Schaumburg, Ill., marks the grocer’s eighth store in the country. The company has confirmed that two additional stores in the state—one in Oak Lawn, and another in Bloomingdale—are opening soon.

The new Amazon Fresh is adjacent to an HMart, a Korean-American supermarket chain operated by the Hanahreum Group, and just minutes from a Jewel-Osco and Aldi. Like its other stores (six of which are in California) the Schaumburg Amazon Fresh features a combination of national brands; 365 by Whole Foods Market organics; a variety of prepared foods; local brands such as Turano Baking Company, Oberweis Dairy, and Gino’s East frozen pizza; regional favorites like Duke’s Mayo, Ellenos Yogurt and Boston Chowda; and Amazon exclusive brands like Fresh, as well as the grocer’s wine label Cursive.

And like its other locations, the new Amazon Fresh offers its “seamless” shopping experience, including free same-day delivery and pickup for Prime members; the Amazon Dash Cart, which enables customers to skip the checkout line; and new in-store Alexa features.

WGB has been closely following Amazon’s grocery expansion. To recap, Amazon Fresh has said the following: “In addition to our stores in Woodland Hills, Calif., Irvine, Calif., Northridge, Calif., North Hollywood, Calif., Whittier, Calif., Ladera Heights, Calif., Naperville, Ill., and Schaumburg, Ill., we’ve confirmed we’ll open stores in Long Beach, Calif., Oak Lawn, Ill., Bloomingdale, Ill., Woodland Park, N.J., Seattle, Wash., and Bellevue, Wash.,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Interestingly, Amazon Fresh publicizes certain new stores with “opening soon” notifications on its website (like Schaumburg and Oak Lawn stores), while not listing other soon-to-open stores until opening day, as was the case with its recently opened Ladera Heights store on La Cienga Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Perhaps secrecy and the elevated buzz its hush-hush approach creates is all part of Amazon’s strategy. Most recently, local news outlets in the Twin Cities area are reporting signs that Amazon Fresh is coming to town, specifically to Burnsville, Eagan and Coon Rapids, Minn. When WGB reached out to Amazon for confirmation on its move into the Twin Cities, a spokesperson responded, “Amazon doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.

But when considering Amazon’s recent plays in grocery, such as its October 2020 announcement that it would take a growing stake in SpartanNash over the next seven years, it’s tempting to ponder how a move into the Twin Cities might take shape.

As WGB reported in June, United Natural Foods Inc., which had previously acquired the Minneapolis-based Cub Foods banners with the idea of a sale, said it was taking the stores off the market given the slowdown in mergers and acquisitions due to COVID-19.

Take the site in Burnsville, Minn., which multiple reports say will be an Amazon Fresh. The area is already home to a Festival Foods, Kowalski’s, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Target and Cub Foods. Fellow Minnesota native Target typically has larger footprints than an Amazon Fresh and is less likely to be selling off its locations. But Cub Foods, with its more than 100 stores in Minnesota and a parent that ultimately wants to sell, could be a compelling option for Amazon as it looks to expedite the rollout of its grocery operations across the country.

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