The sun-bathed glass atrium at the Whole Foods near the Philadelphia Art Museum, once home to Allegro Coffee Bar, is now filled with lockers and racks of shopping bags.
Customers noticed the swap at the beginning of the month, with several people lamenting the loss of the windowed seating area.
If all you’re looking for is a coffee fix, you won’t have to go far: the cafe has been relocated upstairs. According to two workers at the store, the change is meant to make things easier for in-store shoppers by easing congestion caused by delivery business.
“The plan to move all the Amazon stuff down to the first floor,” a staffer told Billy Penn, “so they’re out of the customers’ way as much as possible.”
Remodeling of Whole Foods to make them more amenable to delivery pick-and-pack is something stock market analysts recently predicted for the Amazon subsidiary. Per Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky, speaking in a fourth-quarter conference call, the company’s grocery delivery business has more than doubled year-over-year.
At the 62,000-sq.-ft. Philly flagship on 2101 Pennsylvania Ave., which opened in late 2016, the coffee bar is now on the second floor. It has taken the place of the juice bar, joining other retail counters spread throughout the main shopping area, which include Dizengoff, Federal Donuts, Goldie, Genji and a house brand beer bar.
To get there, people have to first walk through the front of the 200-foot-long ground-floor atrium.
There, instead of tables and chairs next to a counter serving coffee, tea and snacks under the brand Allegro — a Colorado-based roaster that was acquired by Whole Foods in 2017 — there are rows of lockers to which people can direct Amazon packages for safekeeping.
There are also shelves holding groceries waiting for folks who use Amazon’s website to place orders for pickup or delivery.
It’s not that pretty, and one Philadelphian described the new arrangement as an “eyesore.”
Spokespersons for Whole Foods and Allegro have not yet responded to a request for comment, but word is that the transformation is not yet complete, so the look of the sidewalk-adjacent space could potentially improve before things are final.
We’ll update with more if we hear back.