Amazon Fresh, the new, high-tech grocery store under construction at 7401 24th St. in the North Riverside Plaza shopping center since late 2020, will not open this year, North Riverside Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti confirmed to the Landmark last week.
Scarpiniti said she recently had talked to the person who manages the store, who told her that the plan was now to open Amazon Fresh in either late February or early March 2022.
“He said they were having issues with hiring labor, trying to get enough people hired, in addition to stocking the shelves because of supply chain demands, it sounds like,” Scarpiniti said.
Until recently, Amazon had declined to even reveal that it was building one of its new-concept stores in the space that long housed Jewel-Osco, which closed its doors in 2020. But, Scarpiniti said the store finally has submitted documents to the village confirming the store’s identity as an Amazon Fresh market.
“They’ve sent in a preliminary liquor license to confirm they’re Amazon Fresh and the water bill is already set up as Amazon Fresh,” Scarpiniti said.
While the store’s manager may have told Scarpiniti that Amazon was having trouble hiring, the company’s hiring efforts have not been exactly robust up to now. The only position advertised for the store on the company’s website is for a position known as a “zone lead,” which appears to be a mid-level supervisory job.
“[The manager] said they don’t even have first-line supervisors in place yet,” Scarpiniti said. “They’re still working on the management team.”
The company apparently is now including the North Riverside location in a group of stores they plan to open around the spring of 2022, said Scarpiniti, and have decided to focus right now on the two new Amazon Fresh stores that opened this month in Westmont and Morton Grove.
Like those two stores, the North Riverside location will also feature Amazon Fresh’s state-of-the-art checkout technology called “Just Walk Out,” which allows customers to skip the traditional checkout line by scanning an in-store QR code using an Amazon app they can download to their smartphones.
When customers add items to their cart, the cost is automatically tallied by in-cart cameras. When a customer is ready to check out, they can scan the QR code again, and the app will automatically charge the amount to the customer’s credit or debit card.
With the opening of the Morton Grove store on Nov. 11, Amazon Fresh now has six stores in Illinois. The others are located in Schaumburg, Naperville, Bloomingdale and Oak Lawn.