Last week, downtown Encinitas was all aflutter with news that the now-closed Whole Foods market in the Pacific Station Center would soon be occupied by an Amazon Go store. Made sense, considering Amazon recently purchased Whole Foods, and the company still holds the lease.
A poster, placed in the vacant storefront window on South Coast Highway 101, spread the news. Media reports credited the website amazonencinitas.com as their source of the news that a store would be located in Encinitas.
However on November 10, Amazon officials informed the Encinitas Advocate newspaper that the company has nothing to do with the local website and the store will not be coming to Encinitas.
Amazon’s website proclaims, “Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. Simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout.”
But according to a March 27th Wall Street Journal article, Amazon’s cashless shopping technology doesn’t work. At least not with more than 20 people in the store at one time.
Scheduled for opening last December in Seattle, Amazon’s prototype store has yet to open.
Perhaps even city staffers were duped by the phony website. The video appears to have been pulled off Amazon’s site and the Encinitas location information added using Amazon's type fonts. According to the Encinitas Advocate, city staff previously assured even mayor Catherine Blakespear that the Amazon Go was a go.
Peder Norby, the former executive director of Downtown Encinitas Main Street, a chamber of commerce–type organization, posted on Facebook, “It was a pretty glitzy piece to be fake news. Let's hope it's early news not fake news and is a communication issue.”
Deputy mayor Tony Kranz posted on Facebook, “I suspect it’s a left hand/right hand communication issue but don’t know for sure. What is a fact is that the lease for the space is still being paid by Whole Foods, which is now Amazon property.”