Early in the pandemic, Whole Foods Market delayed the opening of new stores in cities such as Castle Rock, Colo., and East Austin, Texas, using them as temporary online-only fulfillment centers. Now, on Sept. 1, the Austin-based grocer opened its first permanent online-only store in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Whole Foods Market is proud to introduce our first-ever, permanent online-only store in Brooklyn, which will allow us to better serve the community and meet the growing demand for grocery delivery,” a Whole Foods Market spokesperson told WGB. “We have hired hundreds of Whole Foods Market team members and other applicants throughout the New York City area who will be dedicated to preparing orders for grocery delivery, enabling us to reach more customers than ever before.”
But according to Amazon’s blog, plans for this forever dark store were in the works prior to COVID-19.
“This new delivery-only retail model will allow Whole Foods Market to serve even more customers and continue to meet the growing demand for grocery delivery,” says the blog, which further reveals that the planning for the new store format—a collaboration between Amazon and Whole Foods—began more than a year ago.
“Grocery delivery continues to be one of the fastest-growing businesses at Amazon,” reports the blog. “In fact, online grocery sales tripled year over year in the second quarter this year, indicating that more customers than ever before are turning to Amazon for grocery delivery options.”
In addition to free two-hour grocery delivery in more than 2,000 cities and towns, Amazon Prime members who shop at Whole Foods Market have access to a number of benefits year-round, such as exclusive discounts on select popular products each week and an additional 10% off hundreds of in-store sale items, the company said.