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First Amazon Fresh store opens to public

Amazon is spotlighting everyday-low-price items and weekly deals at its first Amazon Fresh supermarket, which opened to the general public today.

The 35,000-square-foot store, located in Woodland Hills, Calif., made its debut in late August to a select group of local customers who received email invitations from Amazon. Though on-site e-commerce services, the Amazon Dash Cart smart shopping cart and Alexa shopping tools garnered much of the attention in Amazon Fresh’s premiere, good value for food shoppers is central to concept’s appeal, according to Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon Fresh stores.

“We’re thrilled to open our doors to serve the entire Woodland Hills community today,” Helbling said in a blog post on Thursday. “When we announced the Amazon Fresh store, we promised consistently low prices for all and free same-day delivery for Prime members. We’re excited to make due on that promise as well as introduce even more low prices on favorite items across the store today.”

Daily low prices include items such as bananas for 15 cents, fresh-baked bread for 89 cents and pizza slices for $1.79, rotisserie chickens for $4.97, a three-pound bag of onions for $1.69, a 10-count box of Quaker Oatmeal for $2.50 (all flavors), store-made paninis and hoagies for $5.99, and natural whole chicken with no added hormones under Amazon’s new Fresh brand for 99 cents per pound.

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“When we announced the Amazon Fresh store, we promised consistently low prices for all,” said Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon Fresh stores.

In support of the general public opening, Amazon Fresh also is serving up discounts on a range of items across the store. Deals include a 12-pack of Coca-Cola (12 fl. oz. cans) for $2.69, buy-one-get-one free for Frito-Lay chips (7.75-9.75 oz.), Cheerios cereal (10.8-15.2 oz.) for $1.99, a 16-oz. container of strawberries for $1.99, organic seedless grapes for $1.79 per pound, Atlantic salmon filets for $5.99 per pound, Fresh-brand USDA Choice New York strip steak for $7.69 per pound and rosé wine under Amazon’s new Cursive label for $9.29.

Customers also can earn 5% back at Amazon Fresh, which is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, by using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card or Amazon Prime Store Card at checkout.

Prepared foods made in-store daily by Amazon Fresh’s culinary team range from freshly baked bread and made-to-order pizzas to rotisserie chickens and hot sandwiches, such as brisket panini. The store also offers a wide selection of conventional produce, meat, and seafood as well as national and private brands, including the 365 by Whole Foods Market organic label.

“Since opening to invited customers over the past few weeks, we have received positive feedback from customers who have enjoyed our freshly prepared foods, with our classic pepperoni and pesto chicken pizza slices being among our top sellers, along with our spicy tiger sushi roll and rotisserie chickens,” Helbling said. “One customer shared, the prepared food offering is ‘a good value and so tasty … the best I’ve seen from a grocery store.’”

An array of local brands also are part of Amazon Fresh’s product mix. Examples include Rockenwagner Bakery and Groundworks Coffee plus regional favorites like Duke’s mayonnaise (South Carolina) and Ellenos yogurt (Seattle).

“Rockenwagner Bakery is so proud to be part of the opening team of the new Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills,” Hans Rockenwagner, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Rockenwagner Bakery, said in a statement. “We look forward to serving the vibrant Valley community and growing our terrific partnership with Amazon for many years to come.”

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Amazon Fresh shoppers in Woodland Hills will find a mix of national, local and private brands, such as 365 by Whole Foods Market and Amazon’s new Fresh and Cursive labels.

On the convenience side, Amazon Fresh shoppers can use the multifunction Amazon Dash Cart, announced in mid-July, to find items, track purchases and skip the checkout line. New features from Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant also can help customers manage shopping lists and navigate the store’s aisles. Same-day grocery delivery and pickup are offered directly from the store, and ustomers can pick up their orders at the service counter or by parking in a designated pickup spot. Amazon Fresh, too, serves as a site for Amazon.com order pickup and free “package-less” product returns.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Amazon to the West Valley with the opening of its first-ever Amazon Fresh grocery store,” stated Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield. “It’s nice to see Amazon invest in the brick-and-mortar world of the West Valley, while still offering options for at-home grocery delivery, providing an essential service, hiring hundreds locally and offering low-prices on healthy food.”

More Amazon Fresh stores are upcoming. Locations already disclosed, according to Helbling, include Irvine and Northridge, Calif. — which along with the Woodland Hills store have fulfilled online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic — and a North Hollywood location. A not-yet-opened Amazon Fresh store in Naperville, Ill., also is filling delivery orders, and two more Chicago-area locations in Oak Lawn and Schaumburg are planned. Amazon also acquired two Fairway Market store leases in Paramus and Woodland Park, N.J., in March but hasn’t disclosed plans for the locations.

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