See. Council Member Mueller Asks for More Sunshine
Council Member Mueller asked the city manager to place on an upcoming agenda discussion of his proposals. Apparently, the City Manager and Mayor have declined.
A friend contacted me on Friday asking whether I thought that Amazon's (AMZN) announced purchase of Whole Foods was a big deal.
After a long 3 seconds I said: Yes, and thought about it during the afternoon.
1. Look upon this as acquiring a strong brand.. Whole Foods is a top luxury brand
2. Look at this as a real estate play. WF's locations permeate upper and middle tier end locations. Regardless of AMZNs intents, they would now control a lot of distribution real estate.
3. Look at Whole Foods worker structure: lower labor costs as they are non-union.
4. Consider the tension between brick and mortar stores, and the coexistence of luxury stores with their online counterparts. Apple comes to mind. Retail stores are popular when customer service excels.
5. Consider AMZN's mastery of delivery: long distance and last mile. Perhaps they'll succeed where Internet Boom/Bust I failed, i.e Peapod.
6. AMZN has an instant outlet for the top selling online products, reducing the cost of distributing those. Go to a Whole Foods and pick it up instead.
7. It's a data play. AMZN knows what buyers are buying and where, geographically. Recommendation engines? Would you like a roll of toilet paper with your tablet device? (Sorry the image).
8. It's about automation. More local historical trivia, but telling, regarding the irony of occasionally technology-unfriendly aspects of Menlo Park City Council.
When the Greenheart project on El Camino was originally proposed, the city was anonymously sued to block zoning it. The project envisioned a grocery store à la Whole Foods. It turns out that the nominal plaintiff was a checkout person at Safeway Menlo Park. The suit and subsequent resolution was to limit the size of the project’s large retail space to a threshold smaller than the minimum that a Whole Foods needed for a store. And, get this, the zoning agreement for the site prohibits self-checkout stations, which was the underlyng employee issue. Also, apparently most drone activity is barred in Menlo Park.