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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