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The Seattle Times reports that Amazon will begin operating its Amazon Fresh service in the Brooklyn, NY, neighborhood of Park Slope beginning today - the first time Amazon has expanded the service beyond the west coast, where it has been serving Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

According to the story, "The company said it plans to expand to other Brooklyn neighborhoods 'soon' … Fresh will be available only to members of Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime service, which offers two-day shipping at no extra charge. Those customers won’t have to pay any additional membership fees through the end of the year."

But, "Starting in January, New York’s Fresh customers will have to pay $299 a year to use the service, the same price Amazon charges in its California markets. Amazon has never charged its Seattle customers a membership fee in the seven years it has offered the service" there.

The Times also reports that…

"Fresh customers in New York will get free delivery on orders of more than $35. Fresh will tack on a $7.99 delivery fee for any orders less than that. The company said that customers who place grocery orders by 10 a.m. will have them by dinner, and orders placed by 10 p.m. will be delivered by breakfast."

"An Amazon spokeswoman said that groceries for Brooklyn customers would come from that warehouse in Avenel, N.J., a 23-mile drive to Park Slope. New York is one of a handful of markets with entrenched grocery-delivery rivals. Both FreshDirect and Peapod operate there, as well as some local grocers."
KC's View:
Interesting choice by Amazon; I'm guessing it must have something to do with a manageable density of existing Amazon customers, plus they can avoid at least some of the parking tickets that companies like FreshDirect tend to get while serving Manhattan.

I still think that they're charging way too much for the Prime/Fresh membership … for a lot of people, $299 will be a deal-breaker. They say they're tweaking the numbers, but I haven't seen a ton of evidence of that. Maybe the competition in NY will force a lowering of prices.

Still, if they get traction in Brooklyn, expect them to expand into the other boroughs and suburbs pretty quickly.