Amazon Launching Drive-Thru Grocery Stores


It looks like the long-held speculation that sell-everything retailer would expand into the grocery business is finally coming true. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the e-commerce giant is developing a drive-thru grocery store concept in Sunnyvale, California that will allow consumers to order grocery items online, then schedule a pickup at a local warehouse facility. The SVBJ attributes the information to industry sources with knowledge of Amazon’s plans.

Amazon has remained mute on the subject despite inquiries from the media, and the developer of the project in question (Oppidan Investment Co.) demurred in providing further details on the project. Sunnyvale city officials likewise said they had no further information on the identity of the tenant’s identity. The SVBJ sources said this was just the first of several grocery drive-thru facilities to be established at various sites in Silicon Valley.

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More on Amazon’s new drive-thru grocery stores

According to the sources, Amazon’s first location will be in Sunnyvale, where real estate developer Oppidan is constructing a new 11,600-square-foot warehouse  and grocery pickup facility at 777 Sunnyvale Saratoga Road.

Although Amazon is not actually named in planning documents, real estate sources familiar with Amazon’s concept confirmed Amazon is almost certainly the tenant.

Documents filed with the city of Sunnyvale call the the new business “a blended customer shopping experience, as it leverages both an online shopping platform and the traditional brick-and-mortar retail experience.” Users pre-order “grocery and other retail items,” then select a 15-minute to two-hour pickup window, based on the planning documents. The facility is mainly a warehouse, but it has a designated eight-car drive thru and pick up area.

The planning documents also note that customers can “arrive on foot or bicycle and pick up their groceries and other retail items in the store.”

Of note, the new building will not replace the current Orchard Supply Center at that address, but will be built next to it. The city of Sunnyvale approved the project in early July.

A standalone drive-thru store represents new phase in Amazon’s long-standing grocery ambitions. Analysts note that AmazonFresh, the firm’s grocery delivery service, has grown in several major metropolitan areas over the last few years. A drive thru location provides a solution for the “last mile” problem of getting perishable goods to homes to be consumed by having customers come to convenient local pick up locations.