Amazon’s high-tech supermarket, Amazon Fresh, is opening its first Northern California brick-and-mortar location, in Roseville.
City of Roseville planning officials say they are currently reviewing a permit request for an exterior sign for the supermarket.
“We have an application in the pipeline,” said Anna Quan, Roseville’s assistant planner.
Separately, the city approved an application last year for a building permit for the project at 6780 Stanford Ranch Road, the site of a former Toys R US store.
The building permit for the store never contained Amazon’s name on it, only an architectural firm.
“They are trying to be discreet,” Quan said.
An Amazon spokeswoman in a statement confirmed that the company was opening a store in the Sacramento area but offered no additional details.
The company is renovating the former toy store but it’s unclear how long construction will take. There are no signs on the building indicating that it will become an Amazon Fresh store.
Amazon, known for its delivery of tens of thousands of items, first opened brick-and-mortar stores in 2015. Its first physical stores embraced the company’s roots as a bookseller and were called Amazon Books. It then expanded to Four-Star stores that showcased top-rated products and Amazon Go convenience stores.
The first Amazon Fresh opened in Southern California in August, 2020.
Amazon also owns Whole Foods, which has around 500 stores including four in the Sacramento area and one in Roseville.
Unlike Whole Food, which sells organic products often at a high price, Amazon Fresh is aimed at the middle market. It carries a wide range of products that would be found in a more traditional mainstream supermarket at often discounted prices.
The Amazon Dash Cart allows customers to shop without checking out. A cart with sensors rings up purchases as a shopper pulls items from the aisle. Shoppers can also use the Amazon app to walk out of the market without approaching the check-out line.
Amazon will also use its Alexa voice technology in the stores. Shoppers can ask at stations throughout the store, “Alexa, where can I find the mustard?” and they will be directed to the item.
The stores will also offer a return center for Amazon packages, something supermarket analysts say could give it an advantage over other supermarket chains. Analysts, say, however, for Amazon Fresh to compete with larger competitors in Northern California, such as Safeway and Raley’s, it will need multiple store locations.
Amazon has not said how many Amazon Fresh stores it plans in the Sacramento area or across the nation. The company currently has 23 locations in the U.S, including 11 in Southern California.