Camera store

Tinley Park will gain an Amazon Fresh store later this year

An Amazon Fresh store is set to open later this year in Tinley Park, according to the village and Amazon.

At just over 38,000 square feet, the full-line store would be at 16017 S. Harlem Ave. at Tinley Park Plaza, which has undergone a major overhaul in recent months.

The store would operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, according to the village, which said an opening is planned for this fall. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed a store was planned but said the company had not yet finalized an opening date.

In addition to groceries, household items and general merchandise, the store would offer made-to-order foods such as sandwiches and pizza, according to Amazon.

It would also feature Just Walk Out technology that allows shoppers to grab their merchandise and skip a checkout line, similar to what’s used at Amazon Go convenience stores.

Tinley Park Village Council recently approved a liquor license allowing the store to sell packaged beer, wine and spirits.

The Fresh Stores are Amazon’s biggest foray into the physical retail space since buying Whole Foods in 2017.

A Fresh Store opened in February 2021 in Oak Lawn at 4031 W. 95th St., and there are Fresh Stores in Bloomingdale’s, Naperville, and Schaumburg.

The Fresh Store would be located in a part of Tinley Park Plaza that has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation.

The center’s owner, Brixmoor Property Group, demolished 87,000 square feet of existing space and built 66,000 square feet of new retail space, including the area in which Amazon plans to open.

Overall, the center has approximately 250,000 square feet of space and tenants include The Tile Shop, Dollar Tree and Planet Fitness, although they are in an area slated for a second phase of renovations.

When Tinley Park approved plans to rehabilitate the center in September 2020, around 83,000 square feet, or 36% of the mall, was vacant, according to the village.

Walt’s grocery store had been in the mall since 1984 and closed in June 2021.

The 39,000 square foot space he occupied is just south of Amazon Fresh and listed by Brixmoor as available.

When Brixmoor first presented plans for the redevelopment of the centre, the company then said that the first phase would include a full-range grocery store. A Brixmoor executive at the time described it as a national brand and that at least half of its sales would come from customers outside Tinley Park.

The first Amazon Fresh store opened in August 2020 and the first location with Just Walk Out technology opened in June 2021 in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington, according to Amazon.

Fusing cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence, customers entering the store can choose between the Just Walk Out option or the traditional checkout line, according to Amazon.

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Upon entering, those opting to not pay at checkout will scan a QR code in their Amazon app and scan a credit or debit card linked to their Amazon account, according to the company.

Merchandise removed from shelves and placed in a cart is added to the customer’s virtual cart, and if they rethink the purchase and put it back on the shelf, it is removed from their final shopping count, according to Amazon.

At checkout, customers scan their code or card again to open a door and leave, according to the company.

The Brixmoor center, southeast of 159th Street and Harlem Avenue, has ensnared a tenant from an adjacent Tinley Park center as part of the refurbishment.

Burlington, which moved to Tinley Park Plaza, had been a tenant in a mall on the south side of 159th and east of Harlem. Originally home to a Kmart store, the mainstays of this center are Hobby Lobby and Floor & Decor, which moved into the 70,000 square feet where Burlington once stood.

Locally, Brixmoor also has Ravinia Plaza in Orland Park, which houses a Whole Foods, as well as the Commons of Chicago Ridge near the Chicago Ridge Mall and the Rivercrest Center in Crestwood.

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