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Amazon Go Grocery now open on Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

They’re here. Some five years after CHS first reported on a relatively giant retail space being planned in this Pike/Pine preservation-incentive boosted development, the first Amazon Go Grocery is now open on Capitol Hill.

“Today, we are excited to open Amazon Go Grocery, the first grocery store to offer Just Walk Out Shopping—come in, take what you want, and just walk out,” the company’s announcement reads.

“Amazon Go Grocery offers everything you’d want from a neighborhood grocery store—from fresh produce and meat and seafood to bakery items and household essentials—plus easy-to-make dinner options. We offer a mix of organic and conventional items from well-known brands, along with special finds and local favorites.”

The new, just over 10,000-square-foot store at 610 E Pike joins the neighborhood’s shopping options, open 7 AM to 11 PM Sundays through Thursday, 7 AM to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Parking is available below in the building’s huge lot.

Amazon Go Grocery boasts “everyday ingredients and essentials” plus “ready-made meals to help make dinner tonight easier.”

“We carry an array of fresh fruits and vegetables that change with the seasons, and a selection of quality beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. Our selection of local artisan breads, cheese, and baked goods come from some of the best local kitchens and bakeries daily from around the city and region,” the Amazon PR reads. The company’s investment in space for “ready-to-cook meals” is high as is shelf space for “beer, wine, and spirits, and much more.”

Amazon Go is the company’s cashless, mostly employee-less, checkout-less, quick mart concept. The full grocery brings the concept to the next level. Shoppers check-in with their phones while the shelf weight sensors log selections like the world’s largest minibar. An array of cameras monitor your every shopping move while artificial intelligence will guess at exactly what you will do next in the store — and maybe beyond.

The opening has sparked, if nothing else, continued investment in targeting the neighborhood’s voracious appetite for walkable grocery shopping. The Pike and Broadway QFC just a block or two asway is in the midst of plans for a major overhaul. The E Pike store, meanwhile, joins Amazon’s Whole Foods that opened at Broadway and Madison in October 2018 in serving the area.

The E Pike Amazon Go Grocery debuts this week after years of speculation. Last summer, CHS put the rumors to rest with photos from inside the under-construction grocery when we were able to walk inside the building and have a look around to mark the company’s annual “Prime Day” promotion.

The AVA building the project calls home first rose five years ago above the preserved facade of the street’s longtime Mercedes dealership and garage. Building residents, by the way, were greeted with an announcement flyer and a “bag full of free samples from the store.”

It wasn’t until 2017 that CHS first connected Amazon to the project thanks to information from local developers and city permit filings that included the Amazon senior program manager who worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go.

Originally, the E Pike investment was destined to be home to the first Amazon grocery store and the huge tenant space was leased when the concept was rich with a much more complicated, probably impossible to scale vision. Its top-secret research group “created the first models of stores using kids’ blocks, bookshelves, and other items lying around the office.”

But Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the story goes, saw the complicated early vision when he visited a mocked-up store and didn’t like what he saw. The pivot sent Amazon in new directions shaping smaller stores ladened with even more hardware and technology. Meanwhile, the E Pike site sat empty and waiting. Now the Amazon Go Grocery concept debuts with its first deployment right here on Capitol Hill continuing a trend of some of the biggest names in global business choosing the neighborhood to roll out massive, audacious new concepts.

Eagle-eyed CHS tipsters were in the know, by the way. Clues of an impending opening included the sudden presence of the store in availability listings for product distributors and new dark coverings added to the store’s windows.

The opening also comes as Seattle is considering a major new tax on the city’s largest businesses to help pay for homelessness and housing services. Sunday, a Tax Amazon march will step off from nearby Cal Anderson Park.

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28 thoughts on “Amazon Go Grocery now open on Capitol Hill

      • JH + TOH, There’s no reason not to do all of that. We’re all better off with the small locals, farmers markets, etc.
        Typical capitalist reasoning. Eliminate job opportunities then expect the same people to buy from you with money they no longer have. These new ventures can’t employ the same people and enough of them behind the scenes to take up the slack, let alone offer a living wage. Little by little…

  1. This is the store where folks walk in, grab stuff, and walk out, while the cost is covered by Bezos? Love how they keep expanding their food bank program to give back to the community they’ve taken so much from.

    • It’s literally the same as any other grocery store except there’s no check out…yeesh

      And given how QFC is basically forcing you to u-scan now, I think I actually prefer this model.

      • I am opposed to QFC u-scans too, as it eliminated some jobs of workers (not made up for by the attendants), puts more labor onto customers, and is utterly impersonal. There are other options, including Central Co-op and Trader Joe’s. Besides which, there are more ways this store is different than others than the single one you noted. And even with that, there are layers and complexity to the impact of that difference. But if you want to be part of the self-immolating march to automation this century will be all about, go for it.

      • Same here Ana. Studies have shown that we’re not alone, not by a long shot. It always kills me to see store employees made to shepherd customers to the U-scans.
        Adam, I’m too poor to own the appropriate devices to make this work for me so my social class will be locked out of any future retail trends. And, don’t tell me I have device options, That’s just delusional.

    • This thread is ridiculous.

      You realize a grocery is just a place with a bunch of stuff laying around that you grab and walk out with?

      Amazon is just automating what is possible by eliminating the need for a cashier to scan the items and process the transaction.

      Rather, the store is aware of what’s in your basket, and has your credit card on file as part of your Amazon account and just charges you on exit.

      This isn’t some magical stuff, it’s just technology as is, frankly, inevitable.

      Same with banking. Who goes into banks any longer?

      Only Boomers am other old people, of course…the same people who will respond to this post by claiming they prefer the “human touch” of a disinterested cashier.

      Well I’ve got news for you: in 10 years pretty much all grocery stores will look like this, and the majority of bank branches will be gone.

      As will, as an aside, most credit cards as we’ll just be paying via our phones…

      So. Get. Used. To. It.

    • I’m not really looking for a personal experience when purchasing my groceries. As an extreme introvert I love any option that allows me to make my purchases without interacting with a human being. This is the future. Instead of trying to stop progress we should be advocating for job retraining for people who occupy these soon irrelevant and unneeded jobs. And just from the lack of enthusiasm I get from most of the service workers I interact with it seems like more of them would be much happier doing something else.

      After 16 years in the industry myself I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have the ability to be nice to customers anymore, so I got a job in a different industry.

  2. I was curious how alcohol sales work, and found this buried in their app.

    How do I purchase alcohol?

    Because Amazon Go offers a checkout‑free experience, we check your ID as you enter the alcohol section of our store to make sure you are 21 or older. Only people 21 and older may legally purchase alcohol.

  3. Went in there this morning. Kinda cool I guess. All the local news reporters were there to lick Amazon’s boots while ignoring cerveza virus. Got a great deal on a bag of coffee. The selection is nothing like QFC but they have a bit more than you’d find at a truck stop quickie mart.

    I imagine they’ll need a full-time security person like the other grocery stores. Wouldn’t take much for a hooligan to hop over their turnstile and cause some chaos.

  4. AGo in itself isn’t important. The questions it raises are crucial to the survival of society going forward. The fundamental ways we view each other has to change if this is to be our future.

    • We need to do a better job of recognizing that the wealth that exists today was built through the work of every person, not just those who control the capital.
      Every “leader” today, is not just standing on the shoulders of giants, but on the backs of all the “little people” as well.

  5. There are cities on this planet where unattended stores exist and people use the honor system. No need for panopticon AI, corporate lock-in apps, and sensorized shelving…

    Thing is simple trust works just fine in places where the community takes care of those among them in need and there is little in the way of desperation… Which sure ain’t Seattle.

    Amazon is solving problems that inequity creates, but only for those that can pay. Perhaps a better use of the brilliant minds toiling away in the SLU bit mines might be to address root causes of inequity… Oh… Yeah.. wait, not enough money there.

    Shame on you for profiteering on inhumane inequity that’s sustained by your libertarian empathy gap. If you won’t take care of your neighbors, feel free to leave Seattle anytime.

  6. Outside of all of the usual Amazon critiques, I gotta say- I took a look at this store yesterday and it is possibly the ugliest grocery store in existence. They couldn’t even bother to match the tone of green across signage/uniforms/logos, and it’s pretty clear they only bought Whole Foods so they could have access to their designers. It’s an eyesore.

    • Yes, the most important thing about a grocery store is its design aesthetic. Look how classy QFC and Safeway look. Who would even notice or care what the heck their grocery store looks like as long as it has food.

  7. Funny how the building permits from Seattle demanded ‘no more than 50′ frontages for boutique style retail space.’ and that was completely ignored. Also Amazon kept the space empty for over 4 years waiting for this venture (also depressing the rest of the block) Ava or Avalon also has the most heinous garbage plan in Seattle (Seattle approved this???) They pull dumpsters out on Belmont and drag them up the E pike Sidewalk and park them on Boylston. Wonder why there is no parking left? Because Ava puts out up to 8 dumpsters and Pike motorworks puts out just as many, taking most of the parking on Boylston between pike/pine. Seattle sure has thrown local business under the bus to kiss Amazons nasty little ass!

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