There are now 14 Amazon Fresh locations around the country, and it looks like expansion plans will bring at least two of the new-concept stores to Long Island.
In May, Amazon Retail LLC, doing business as Amazon Fresh, applied for a grocery beer/wine product license at 3620 Long Beach Road in Oceanside, said William Crowley, spokesman for the New York State Liquor Authority. The license is pending for the planned store, where renovations are taking place currently.
The store will occupy a space vacated by a Waldbaum’s supermarket in 2016 after the grocer’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
As Newsday reported in March, Amazon also is planning to open an Amazon Fresh in part of a former Fairway Market space in Plainview, according to emails an Amazon representative sent to the town of Oyster Bay in relation to an application for a building permit.
Typically tight-lipped Amazon.com Inc. declined Newsday’s request for comments on its Long Island plans, including when the local stores will open and how many people they will employ.
The owners of the Oceanside and Plainview shopping centers — Serota Properties in Valley Stream and Kimco Realty Corp in Jericho, respectively — also declined to comment on planned tenant changes at the properties.
Since July, the Oceanside shopping center’s owner has received three building-related permits from the town of Hempstead for work being done at the 47,300-square-foot store space, acting Building Department Commissioner Frederick A. Jawitz said.
None of the documents the owner has submitted for permits states who the store occupant will be, he said.
The Oceanside shopping center has been without a grocery store since its Waldbaum’s closed.
"That shopping center is a very busy shopping center, so even without Waldbaum’s, it’s still busy, really busy. But if you have a 50,000-square-foot supermarket in there, it stands to reason that a lot of people who weren’t coming before are going to come now," said Joseph Scimone, a managing member of Lighthouse Realty Partners LLC, which manages the shopping center for Serota Properties.
Built in 1967, the 283,000-square-foot shopping center’s existing tenants include Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Staples and Michaels, said Scimone, who declined to comment on specific tenant changes.
Seattle-based Amazon, which bought Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in 2017, opened the first Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills, California, last August. There are now 14 Amazon Fresh stores in four states — California, Illinois, Virginia and Washington.
With Amazon Fresh, the parent company is making a play for customers who aren’t fans of high-end Whole Foods, which focuses on organic and natural foods, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Amazon Fresh offers a more traditional selection of goods but it emphasizes technology that lets shoppers pay without going through checkout lines.
Most Amazon Fresh stores use the Amazon Dash Cart, which is a "smart shopping cart." Customers can sign into the cart using the Amazon app, place their bags in the cart and leave the store using the Dash Cart lane.
"When you exit through the store’s Amazon Dash Cart lane, sensors automatically identify the cart, and your payment is processed using the credit card on your Amazon account," according to Amazon’s website.