I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Whole Foods has been suffering an identity crisis, but like a teenager who’s moved to different high school, ever since being bought out by Amazon, the upmarket grocer has definitely been experimenting with a new look. Earlier this year, rumors leaked that the chain, which previously had focused on opening locations in mainly affluent neighborhoods, would be pursuing a broader strategy of simply trying to get in range of as many customers as possible. Not long after, news broke that Whole Foods would be dumping its smaller, cheaper, millennial-focused Whole Foods 365 stores, rapidly reversing a course that at one point appeared to be the grocer’s top initiative.
But despite these changes, Whole Foods definitely hasn’t given up on the ideas of “affluent” or “smaller” just yet. The Amazon-owned grocer has just opened a “new grab-and-go concept” called Whole Foods Market Daily Shop at 7th Ave. and 25th St. in Manhattan’s upscale Chelsea neighborhood.
This location is kind of like a fancy Whole Foods convenience store — open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. (and, for the record, a full-size Whole Foods is right around the corner). The Daily Shop offers “brand new self-checkout — perfect for grabbing an Allegro or Bulletproof coffee, fresh juice or kombucha on tap, a quick snack or Build Your Own Acai Bowl on the go,” a spokesperson told me via email. The store also has a local focus, “carrying Gotham Greens, Balthazar breads, New York Bagel, Dunwell Doughnuts, Dough Doughnuts, By the Way Bakery cakes, Lillys cookies and more.”
The store still has plenty of Whole Foods staples — like staffed registers if self-checkout isn’t your thing. Amazon is still officially in charge, so, of course, you’ll see Prime Member Deals. There’s fresh produce and a “curated selection of flowers, including potted orchids and plants,” as well as hot prepared foods and a mochi freezer. (Don’t forget the mochi!) Plus, like any good convenience store, if you need something in a pinch, Daily Shop has you covered with “two-dedicated grocery aisles highlighting single-serve convenience-based and everyday essentials” and a “small Whole Body featuring toothbrushes, shampoos, deodorant, cough drops, candles and travel-sized products.”
I followed up to ask if this was a concept Whole Foods was planning to expand and have yet to receive a response. Seeing as Amazon is also growing its line of Amazon Go convenience stores and is reportedly planning an entirely new chain of grocery stores as well, the massive retailer seems to already have a lot of brick-and-mortar shops on its plate. But hey, it’s not like Amazon has ever been afraid of growing.
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