As we approach the one-year anniversary of Amazon closing the deal to acquire Whole Foods, Theory House had the opportunity to explore the newest Whole Foods store in our own backyard. Two noteworthy aspects caught our eye: the increasingly clear presence of Amazon and a clear emphasis on community, that was not limited to local perishables.

The integration of Amazon into Whole Foods spans from the Amazon Lockers and showroom of Amazon products, to Amazon Prime savings and omnipresent Amazon signage. As of June 25th, Amazon has extended its Prime member savings to all Whole Foods stores nationwide. The cross-marketing of Prime and Whole Foods offers incentives for 100 million Amazon Prime members to become Whole Foods shoppers. In stores, any on-sale product has the Amazon Prime callout on distinctive blue signage. The bright blue demands attention, especially when compared to the more muted colors of Whole Foods.

Furthering the integration is the launch of the Whole Foods app. To access all of the Prime member deals in stores, shoppers simply need to scan the barcode on their app at checkout. This also provides incentives for customers to visit the store by showing them sales beforehand.

Finally, local merchandising was not to be missed. From signage highlighting local products to water bottles and bags celebrating the store’s location in Uptown Charlotte, Whole Foods successfully highlighted the local charm of the area. It’s an interesting choice for the retailer to champion local players in its marketing amid controversy over its changing vendor requirements, potentially forcing the small, local suppliers out of the market. When discussing the Charlotte store opening, Mark Frost, Whole Foods Store Team Leader, addressed these fears by emphasizing that “the new store, designed with its dynamic location in mind, will feature many locally-sourced and seasonal products.” There’s no denying the success of this store’s opening in the Charlotte market. We look forward to frequent trips back to see what they introduce next.