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• Amazon announced this morning that is expanding its delivery services, via Prime Now, to Whole Foods stores in Asheville, Charlottesville, Columbia, Lexington, Little Rock, Manchester, Mobile, Naples and Savannah, as well as grocery pickup services to stores in Columbus, Ohio.

Amazon says that delivery now is available in 75 U.S. metros and pickup from Whole Foods Market is available in 30 U.S. markets; additional expansion of both services is scheduled for later this year, the company said.

• The Washington Business Journal reports that Amazon “is looking for a booze business policy and lobbying expert, and it could portend a push into more alcohol sales for the online retail giant.” The paper knows this because Amazon is advertising for a “manager of alcohol public policy,” who will “create, execute, and manage key public policy issues related to alcohol procurement and sales.”

The story suggests that “this could be a part of a play by Amazon to expand its two-hour or less alcohol delivery service to cities in the eastern Untied States, or, Amazon could be looking to completely change the regulatory game for alcohol shipment … Amazon's most recent efforts on alcohol distribution come in the form of local delivery. Over the last few years, Prime members in a few cities like Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Seattle have been able to get beer, wine and liquor delivered to their homes. Amazon offers beer runs in a number of other cities but not always liquor or wine. That's likely because of a wide range of state and local laws regulating who can sell and even when spirits can be sold.”

The retailer did create an offering called Amazon Wine, which was available in about a dozen states, but shut it down because of a plethora of local and state regulations that made its operation problematic.

• The Washington Business Journal reports that Amazon, as it begins opening its HQ2 offices in northern Virginia, “is considering covering the full cost of transit fares for its Arlington employees.”

According to the story, “The coverage of transit fares by the company could assuage some fears that Amazon will further hamper traffic congestion problems in Greater Washington. The company has pledged to bring at least 25,000 new jobs to National Landing — a new name for parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — over the next 12 years.”

The Journal points out that “currently, Amazon covers the full fares of its Seattle employees’ use of buses, light rail and ferries, according to the report. About one in three use transit to get to work in Seattle.”
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