Functioning more like an Amazon “fulfillment center,” than an upscale organic grocery store, Whole Foods, opened an online-only branch or its chain in Sunset Park in Brooklyn on September 1. This brick and mortar store only has online customers, shoppers are not allowed in. The only people inside the store are employees who scoot up and down the aisles filling baskets for customers who ordered via the internet.
Amazon bought Austin-based Whole Foods in 2017, fuelling speculation that the nature of grocery shopping was about to experience a revolution. Perhaps a revolution did not quite happen, but it certainly seems we are in the midst of an evolution of the way people shop. Certainly, sheltering at home and quarantines are speeding up the process.
Before the store in Sunset Park opened, a few traditional Whole Foods stores had shifted to online-only shopping, but only temporarily. These stores still maintained their customer conveniences like a salad bar and coffee corner, they just were not used for a few weeks. The new online-only store does not even have those amenities within its walls.