Drive-through grocery warehouse expected to open in Sunnyvale

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KTVU) – A project coming soon to Sunnyvale has the potential to change how you shop for groceries.

It's a drive-through at a warehouse with an eight-stall car pickup area.

The idea is that you'll order your groceries online, choose a 15 minute to two-hour time window, and then drive through the stall to get the goods.

"Actually, Sunnyvale is a center for this kind of innovation," says Jennifer Garnett, Communications Officer for the city of Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale officials approved the project last week, though it now has to go through a 15 day appeals period. The grocery drive-through will share land with an existing Orchard Supply Hardware store.

"The applicant has really tried to keep that in mind and make sure that people have easy ingress and egress. And there will be opportunities for people to come in and park or if they're biking or walking they can come in that way too," says Garnett.

What hasn't been officially revealed yet, is who the grocery-retailer will be. The Silicon Valley Business Journal is reporting the tenant might be Amazon.

Kirthi Kalyaman, director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University, says he wouldn't be surprised.

"This is a very bold innovation. It's the kind of innovation Amazon is known for," says Kalyaman.

He says while groceries are big business, they haven't become big business online yet.

"Grocery has been the hardest nut to crack for e-commerce," he says.

He thinks home delivery windows are a problem for people, but that a company big enough to offer options might have success.

"There's always the home delivery option, we have that. And now I'm giving you a second option and that's where I think we're going with this," says Kalyaman.

The customer can then control when they get the groceries and eventually, as the number of drive-throughs expand, where you get them.

"When there's just one here and there it's inconvenient but suddenly you have a lot of them and it becomes very convenient," he says.

Just how convenient this is, Sunnyvale residents say they'll have to wait and see.

"I think I like the idea of it. I'm just curious to see what it will look like in reality. If it really opened up I would just go and try," says resident Jade Sun.

Walmart already has drive-through grocery up and running in Arkansas.

There’s no word on when the project here might break ground.