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Web site gets competition from Amazon
— Local online gourmet food store Gourmet Food Mall is getting some competition
from one of the country’s largest retailers.
Amazon.com announced today that it is getting into the gourmet food business
with a new specialty food division. The retailer launched the new “store” in
time to take advantage of the holiday shopping season.
Backers of Elmwood-based Gourmet Food Mall, which debuted online at
www.gourmetfoodmall.com in September 2002, say they aren’t worried.
“We’ve been aware that they were going to do this for some time,’ said Tom
Martin, Gourmet Food Mall marketing director. “They were contacting and trying
to solicit some of the same merchants we were trying to solicit.”
Gourmet Food Mall is a clearinghouse for specialty food merchants. The company
charges retailers a monthly fee to set up shop online through the virtual
shopping mall. Approximately 50 merchants sell almost 2,000 items through the
site, Martin said.
Amazon has teamed with large national merchants, like Dean & DeLuca and Omaha
Steaks, as well as some smaller retailers to offer more than 10,000 products.
The site boast 700 different types of cheese alone.
Martin hopes the publicity surrounding the new Amazon store will help people
become more comfortable with the idea of buying specialty foods online. National
articles about the new store have mentioned the name of the local site.
“Anytime Amazon moves into something, it sort of brings legitimacy, if you will,
to the category,” Martin said.
The two companies are taking a different approach to gourmet. Amazon is trying
to sign up primarily large gourmet food companies and retailers and limiting the
number of merchants, Martin said.
Gourmet Food Mall targets smaller, regional suppliers that may otherwise have a
tough time getting their good to the mass market.
By Keith Brannon
The Biz Network