Amazon opens massive distribution center in midtown Anchorage, could be market disrupter to Fred Meyer and Carrs, which are trying to merge to compete

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As big-union-protectionist Democrats like Rep. Mary Peltola try to stop Kroger (Fred Meyer) and Albertson’s (Safeway) from merging, as retailers try to compete with Amazon better, the world’s largest retailer is already moving into the 49th state in a big way.

Amazon announced the recent opening of a massive delivery station in Anchorage, marking its first major investment in Alaska. Amazon said in a statement that the midtown Anchorage site, which is 66,000 square feet, started operating in November and is still ramping up.

This is a distribution center that is larger than a football field; it has 100 employees.

As it turns out, the free market is moving faster than lawsuits and regulators trying to interfere with free enterprise.

Alaskans can order all kinds of food through Amazon and have it delivered to their doorstep, whether there’s rain, snow, or sleet.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy praised the entry of the world’s largest retailer into Alaska: “Alaska is open for business, and I’m excited about Amazon’s decision to invest in Alaska. E-commerce has transformed life in the 21st century, and Amazon’s new delivery station in Anchorage helps Alaska capitalize on the jobs and other benefits this growing sector creates.”

It’s not the merger or prices that unions and their main Rep. Mary Peltola are worried about with the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertson’s. The unions are worried about unions and their power over workers.

Interestingly, Amazon is not unionized — not yet, anyway. And although unions and Peltola have said nothing about the massive retail shift this new Amazon distribution system represents, Amazon is going to accelerate the changing marketplace in Alaska by delivering goods even sooner to those on the road system. This will make it even harder for Fred Meyer and Carrs to compete.

The station, located in an old Sears warehouse, is a “last mile” distribution center, where orders arrive and are loaded onto Amazon delivery vehicles. Much like a post office, Amazon employees sort packages by zip code and organize delivery logistics for Amazon and delivery subcontractors

While once Sears was a dominant player in Alaska, but it faded as an empire and was replaced largely by Walmart. Sears has just 12 stores left in the United States, while Amazon, which is majority owned by Jeff Bezos, went from a garage in Seattle to a behemoth that is increasingly moving to robotics for sorting and delivery.

According to some sources, Amazon has more than 100,000 robot workers in warehouses now. A robot worker works 22.8 hours a day every day and only needs an hour or two at the most to recharge batteries. It needs no days off and can work seven days a week. The growing robotic workforce at Amazon is said to have replaced up to 400,000 humans.

“We support more than one million employees around the world who are innovating and working to serve customers in our global fulfillment centers, retail locations, data centers, corporate offices, tech hubs, and headquarters in the Puget Sound region of Washington state and Arlington, Virginia,” Amazon reports.

The Anchorage delivery station has already created more than 100 of full-time and part-time jobs in the region, offering a starting pay of $20/hour, which comes with healthcare benefits, 401K, dental, vision and access to promotion opportunities such as Career Choice. Benefits are available to all employees starting on the first day of employment. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Amazon to Anchorage and look forward to seeing the positive impact on our local economy.  We are confident that this will be a win-win for both Amazon and Anchorage. We are committed to working with Amazon to ensure that their operations in our city are successful and that they have a positive impact on our residents and businesses,” said Mayor Dave Bronson of Anchorage.

Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $20 million in the state, including infrastructure and employee compensation, which added more than $15 million into Alaska’s GDP, Amazon said. In 2021, Amazon launched its first Amazon Air gateway at Fairbanks International Airport. 

Once the delivery station reaches full operations later this year, Prime customers located in Anchorage can expect faster and more convenient delivery on eligible items available on Amazon.com, the company said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the state of Washington, where Amazon is located, sued Kroger to stop the merger with Albertson’s. Washington is the home base for Amazon, which also owns Whole Foods Market and delivers its food through Amazon infrastructure. Washington State has a dog in the fight, as it collects taxes from Amazon and seeks to protect that tax base.

Rep. Peltola has been fighting the merger of Kroger-Albertson’s since last summer, along with Joelle Halle, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO who said in a release, “This mega-merger would hurt all Alaskans, but especially the workers at potentially impacted stores. A successful mega-merger would likely lead to store closures and hundreds – possibly thousands – of lost jobs, many of which come with family-sustaining wages, top of the line health insurance, and a pension. Alaskans should be thankful Representative Peltola is speaking up on this issue and defending Alaska consumers and workers from the harmful impacts of a corporate monopoly.”

Peltola is vehemently against the merger of Kroger-Albertson’s: “Alaska already has an incredibly concentrated grocery store market, and potential divestments of stores resulting from the merger would threaten both competition and basic food security in many communities across the state. The five largest jurisdictions by population in Alaska are Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Kenai-Soldotna. In each of these communities, Fred Meyer (Kroger) and Carrs (Albertsons) are the primary competitors selling groceries and household goods. If the proposed merger goes through, store closures and reduced competition could result in a significantly reduced competition, or even a near-monopolistic landscape in a state that already has some of the highest costs of living in the United States.”

With the entry of Amazon’s massive growth in Alaska, the marketplace has just gone through a radical shift on the Alaska road system. The Federal Trade Commission may give Amazon an even bigger edge by preventing smaller companies from merging in order to compete.

But for now, it appears that the decision from the FTC may be delayed until the Washington State lawsuit plays out, which will give Amazon time to get its foot further in the door in small markets.

As these market forces and regulatory overreach play out, Three Bears, a Wasilla-based grocery chain, has just purchased several more properties in Alaska with the eye on expanding its own footprint.

And Albertson’s announced that with the merger it will sell off all of its Carrs stores in Alaska — but it’s unclear who will buy them.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Amazon only has a market place because customers are purchasing—hey, that’s you, me or the next guy! It’s our choice, for now, who we spend our dollars with. Make your choice wisely with the future in mind.

  2. Competition is always good for the costumer. Free enterprise is always good for America. Monopolies have always cost Alaskans in product quality and price. Time to ditch Seattle profiteers who have enjoyed a long run. Not to mention Cincinnati and California, the relative newcomers to the North. Selling designer pickles and Spring clothing in winter.

  3. I believe this is going to be a huge mistake for Amazon. They were successful incontracting the post office to deliver and sort all their Amazon packages, with ZERO investment in people, vehicles, or brick & mortar in Alaska. Thisis going to turn into a VERY expensive operation and Amazon will have to raise prices to operate this new center. It will also turn Dowling and Old Seward into a cluster.

  4. All of these stores are owned by the globalists anyway. The merger or non-merger of Kroeger and Carrs Safeway is a distraction that is dividing people and making people think that they have a choice and that one store is better then the other. It all does not matter people. IF (a big IF) the globalists get their way, Amazon will be the only everything provider here in Alaska and your purchases will be controlled by your social credit score. People need to wake up and quit bickering about a “merger.” It is all a distraction because the globalists own all of those stores. We need to be concentrating on saving our freedom and rights, our state’s private property, gas/oil/electricity services, and removing the demons from the seat of control.

    • Bob, Three Bears appears to be getting most of their grocery items from Costco, and then charges about 10% more than what we can buy them for at the Costcos in Anchorage.

      They do have a lot of unique grocery items that Costco doesn’t have though.

      A new Three Bears is supposed to open soon in Eagle River.

    • Jefferson, you might just be right, then again maybe not. I’ve purchased books on many subjects and even a 50 year old edition of National Lampoon along with Gunfighters Inc. Kydex chest holsters from Bezos. That said, I spend the majority of my $ at local stores like Sagaya and Three Bears eschewing big Corporate Entities like Freds and Safeway, (Costco excepted) My $ my choice. Live Free my Bruther, and take advantage of a good deal in purchasing Liberty Tree watering implements, even if they come from Bezos.

    • I love Amazon! I can get practically anything I want with just a few clicks of the mouse. I was in Las Vegas and ordered something, and it was delivered 4 hours later! Here in Anchorage, I ordered something on November 15th and it still hasn’t arrived. Having a local distribution center will make a huge positive difference.

  5. There is never going to be an issue with what bathroom a robot chooses to invade. Nor will they sit in there facebooking their cat’s cute morning activities.

  6. There’s no upside for a Kroger/Safeway merger. Amazon doesn’t deliver fresh food in Alaska. We hear nothing from Dunleavy and Trig this merger. How’s the SCOTUS cases going Mike?

  7. It’s a last-mile distribution center, not a grocery store. Everything still has to be flown into Anchorage before the local hub can deliver it. It’s FedEx with an Amazon sign on the building. This is just supposed to shorten the time it takes for packages to be sorted and delivered. I don’t see how that’s a threat of any kind to Fred Meyer or Carrs.

  8. Amazon’s expansion in Alaska will never affect me personally because I will never have purchased goods delivered to my home.
    I much prefer to walk into a brick-and-mortar store and do my own shopping. I much prefer to look over a stock, and make my own choice(s) and which one(s) to choose.
    I also like the daily interaction with the people working in the store, that I see every day and come to know.
    I am not of the newer generation who are riddled with social anxiety and prefer to huddle inside their homes and avoid all in-person contact with the outside world as much as possible, and only interact with it through their electronic devices which never ever leave their hands.
    I begin me day with a morning trip to my closest 3-Bears store, where I pick things out myself, and interact with the employees who I come to know on a personal level.

    But that’s just me….

    • I fully agree with you. However, i have found that numerous items of late can’t be found locally (Kenai/Soldotna) any longer. That is probably because of Amazon. If you still need the item, Amazon is about the only alternative. A vicious circle, indeed.

    • What do you do if what you want is not available locally? Have you ever experienced having to wander up and down the aisles of stores searching for a particular item? Doing a word search online is much easier an more efficient.

  9. Okay, then. I enjoyed the old days of private businesses in Alaska, and the occasional trip south for box store shopping. At least the money stayed local. The local businesses did not enjoy the discounts offered to the large corporations running everything today or the ability to loose money on a store while they drive out the local competition. Small brands have all but disappeared from the market, and the offerings are very subjective. There is no stopping this nationwide movement, so the only option seems to be to competition within the few giant corporations that control nearly all aspects of our supply system other than hunting and farming, which is being worked on as well. The reason I might favor Amazon for some things is that they are not currently manufacturing their own products under hidden labeling and offer more choices to the consumer. Big businesses are here to stay. I saw that Amazon is offering a livable wage, an idea not practiced even by the municipality of Anchorage who pretends to advocate that idea. The government has been useless in preventing monopolies and soliciting competitive bids for products and services for years, so the sudden concern should be dismissed as a political maneuver, for more political favors. Simple when you follow the money. That meaning, the money going into the political pockets through devious but legal ways.

  10. It’s scary to think Alaska could be down to 1 or 2 sources for our food supply, and other necessities. Very easy to control a population when you control their means of survival.

  11. Amazon opening a warehouse in Anchorage is not going to have any impact on the grocery industry here. I hope Kroger takes over all the Carrs stores. If we’re going to have limited options for grocery companies then why not have the best. It’s not limited either. If you have Walmart, Costco and Kroger stores spread throughout Anchorage I wouldn’t call that limited people. Alaska is evolving people, sink it in cause it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Nobody asked us outsiders to come and take over Alaska, but unfortunately people did, so I ask you people, what gives you the right to choose what companies can be here?

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