The Whole Foods Market in Madison is finally getting into the grocery delivery business.
Whole Foods, which was purchased for $13.7 billion by Amazon in August 2017, has begun grocery delivery from its store on Madison's West Side. The joint announcement from Amazon and Whole Foods said that delivery service through Amazon Prime Now will now be available in Madison, Milwaukee and eight other cities around the country in addition to expanded service in New York and Seattle. The delivery service launched earlier this year and is now available in 48 cities, according to the companies.
In recent weeks, Amazon has been advertising for employees to pick groceries but it was unclear if it would be from a warehouse or from the Whole Foods store at 1313 University Ave. Officials confirmed Tuesday that Amazon employees in Madison will pick items for delivery from the Whole Foods store. A space on the store's southwest side that had been home to a community room and culinary school has been transformed into staging area for items to be delivered. An option for customers to pick up their orders at the Madison store is not available.
"Once you place your order, an employee goes to pick the item and we then get it placed in a bag and ready for delivery," an Amazon spokesperson said when asked about the process. "Then, an Amazon Flex driver is assigned the delivery and they head out toward the customer. The customer can track their package getting closer and our drivers are equipped with sophisticated software that routes them to deliver the order."
Madison is a highly competitive grocery market with major players like Metcalfe's Market, Woodman's Market and Hy-Vee offering their own delivery services with Pick'n Save, Metro Market, CVS and Costco offering delivery through Instacart, a San Francisco-based delivery company founded in 2012. Last year, Walmart announced that it was adding a grocery pickup service to eight Wisconsin stores, including its Madison store on the East Side at 4198 Nekoosa Trail and its store in Stoughton.
The 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods store in Madison opened in 1996 and was the company's first store in Wisconsin. The store was closed for a several days late last month when flood water entered the building.
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