There is speculation that a few grocery stores planned for the Twin Cities metro could be new Amazon Fresh stores.
At least three cities are considering plans for a national grocer to open, including Burnsville, Coon Rapids and Eagan, according to media reports. And city officials and industry wonks think it might be Amazon joining the Twin Cities grocery scene (although Amazon does already own Whole Foods).
However, Amazon is tight-lipped about the possibility it's coming to Minnesota. An Amazon spokesperson told Bring Me The News on Thursday that it "doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation."
Burnsville Planning Commission documents from this week's meeting show renderings of the proposed nearly 40,000-square-foot grocery store project at Cobblestone Court with the name "Mendel" (page 94).
That name is what's fueling all the speculation because it is the name Amazon has used in other cities to launch its Amazon Fresh grocery concept.
The city documents do not mention Amazon, only that the project is being pursued by Cobblestone Concepts, LLC.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal back in October reported about two national grocery stores potentially coming to Eagan, naming Amazon as a possibility. The Eagan City Council approved those plans in November, Sun This Week reported.
And now Axios has confirmed with unnamed sources that Amazon is bringing its stores to Eagan Town Centre as well as a former JCPenney in Riverdale Village in Coon Rapids. It had previously reported on the Burnsville store being an Amazon Fresh.
Amazon has opened a handful of its Fresh grocery stores in California and Illinois. Amazon Fresh is a new grocery store concept that offers a "seamless grocery experience" for people shopping in the store or online that offers customers to skip the checkout line, among other features aimed at making shopping for groceries more convenient and less expensive.
Twin Cities-based food consultant Rick Shea told the Pioneer Press the metro would be a good test market for Amazon because it would have competition in the packed grocery market thanks to chains like Cub Foods, Target, Kowalski's, and Lunds & Byerlys.
“It would be representative of how expansion would go in other markets,” Shea told the paper. “So you’ll have all the players within the market, and I think that’s one of the reasons why Amazon potentially chose the market to expand.”