BREAKING: Amazon Fresh closing in Crystal City

Amazon Fresh in Crystal City, prior to opening in 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Crystal City is losing what is currently its only grocery store.

The Amazon Fresh store that opened in July 2022 at 1550 Crystal Drive will close after Sunday, ARLnow has learned. Multiple readers told us yesterday that the store had launched a sudden, massive sale.

Employees, we’re told, were informed of the closure this week and offered jobs at other area Amazon Fresh stores.

“I saw a large meeting taking place in the afternoon… around 3pm,” a tipster told us Wednesday. “Store has been mysteriously closed ever since.”

The store since reopened after that temporary mid-week closure and has been working to clear out inventory.

“There is a 75% off sale and the store is super crowded right now with many shelves completely bare,” another tipster said Friday afternoon.

“We are closing… it was fun,” one employee reportedly said.

An Amazon spokesperson sent a statement to ARLnow confirming the closure and saying that the company is focusing on larger format stores.

Over the last year, we’ve redesigned a number of our full-sized Amazon Fresh stores, offering a better overall shopping experience by bringing in an expanded selection, low prices on even more grocery items, and greater convenience with updated checkout options such as Amazon Dash Cart. We’re pleased to see those changes resonating with customers through higher satisfaction scores and increased purchasing. To focus on selectively opening new Amazon Fresh stores as we see positive customer feedback on the new format, we are closing our smaller Amazon Fresh store in Arlington.

Amazon Fresh filled a long-time grocery store void in Crystal City, but the new void is likely to be temporary. Further south, the neighborhood is getting a new Trader Joe’s store at 2450 Crystal Drive, though the quirky grocery chain has declined to confirm what is evident from multiple permit filings.

In nearby Pentagon City, meanwhile, an Amazon-owned Whole Foods remains open at 520 12th Street S., next to its nearly year-old HQ2.

Other smaller Amazon Fresh stores are also closing, including at least one in Seattle — home to Amazon’s main corporate headquarters — and another in D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood. Additionally, this week Amazon announced that it was discontinuing its “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology at remaining Fresh stores.

Amazon was expected to open a Fresh store on Columbia Pike as part of the planned Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center redevelopment, but reportedly pulled out from the deal, delaying the project and leaving a stretch of empty storefronts along the Pike. Plans for a Fresh store in Bailey’s Crossroads was also dropped.

With the Crystal City and D.C. closures, the closest Fresh stores to Arlington will be located in Fairfax County and Montgomery County, Md. Beyond its physical stores, however, Amazon Fresh remains a significant grocery delivery business, offering same-day delivery in Arlington and other parts of the region from a fulfillment center in the Springfield area.

Hat tip to Raheem W., Nathan B. and various tipsters