The Amazon Fresh store under construction in Oceanside.

The Amazon Fresh store under construction in Oceanside. Credit: Linda Rosier

Amazon Fresh supermarkets, in which shoppers can pay digitally without going through checkout lanes, are branching into New York State, starting with Long Island.

The first Amazon Fresh in the state will be in Oceanside, according to Inc., which issued a statement Wednesday saying it is “hiring for hundreds of full- and part-time employees” to work in the store and will hold a virtual hiring event May 26.

But the Seattle-based company won’t disclose other details about its New York expansion, including the planned opening date of the Oceanside store.

Renovations on the Oceanside store, which is in a former Waldbaum’s supermarket space at 3620 Long Beach Rd., appear to be mostly complete, at least from the outside, where the Amazon Fresh name is in bright green and white letters on the storefront.

Newsday reported in 2021 that three Amazon Fresh stores were planned for Long Island — in Oceanside, East Setauket and Plainview — based on building renovation documents filed with the towns of Brookhaven, Hempstead and Oyster Bay, and license applications submitted to the New York State Liquor Authority.

The Oceanside store will open in a 47,300-square-foot unit in a shopping center.

A 42,908-square-foot Amazon Fresh under construction in East Setauket, at 4054 Nesconset Hwy. in Suffolk Plaza, will take 76% of a former Waldbaum’s space.

The Amazon Fresh planned for Plainview would occupy 33,342 square feet, or 60%, of a former Fairway Market space at 50 Manetto Hill Rd. in Manetto Hill Plaza.

The liquor authority granted conditional approval of liquor licenses for the Oceanside store in August 2021  and the East Setauket store last month, said Joshua D. Heller, a spokesman for the state agency.

A license application was submitted in November for the Amazon Fresh store planned for Plainview, but no approval has been granted, he said.

Amazon Fresh stores emphasize technology that lets shoppers pay digitally without going through checkout lanes.

The Oceanside store will have Just Walk Out technology, which detects when products are being placed on or removed from shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart, Amazon said in the statement Wednesday.

“When customers are done shopping, they can skip the checkout line and get going. Later, they’ll receive a receipt and charge to their Amazon accounts. Just Walk Out shopping is available to any customer with an Amazon account, and traditional checkout lanes are also available for all shoppers,” the company said.

Amazon, which owns the Whole Foods Market chain, opened the first Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills, California, in August 2020. 

There are now 43 Amazon Fresh stores, including 18 in the United Kingdom.

Of the 30 stores in the United States, 14 are in California, while the rest are in Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington state and Washington, D.C., according to Amazon’s website.

While Whole Foods is a high-end supermarket chain focused on organic and natural products, and prepared foods, Amazon Fresh is more in the traditional supermarket category, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“Not everybody is into Whole Foods. And Amazon Fresh will attract a wide range of different types of shoppers who are looking for decent prices and a convenient shopping experience,” he said.

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