It was back in February of 2021 when we first started talking about the "Monmouth County Mystery Grocery Store."

This empty storefront had become shrouded in mystery and everybody wanted to know what was going there.

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The Asbury Park Press has reported that an "unnamed supermarket" was all set to take over the old Toys R Us at Monmouth Plaza on the corner of Route 35 and Wyckoff Road.

I did a lot of research on this project including talking to all of my "friends in high places," and everyone staying very tight-lipped on what chain is moving into town.

APP even reached out to Monmouth Plaza officials. They said:

While it is very exciting and I look forward to the day when it can be divulged, at this point I'm not at liberty to say exactly who this tenant is but we can tell you that the use is a grocer and it's being retrofitted accordingly.

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This is a massive space. We're talking 35,000 square feet.

Slowly but surely we started seeing signs of life.

There was a new façade, parking lot upgrades, new signs, bike racks, and electric vehicle charging stations. Very forward-thinking, right?

Would it be Trader Joe's? Would it be another Shoprite? Nope.

A brand new kind of grocery store was planned for Eatontown.

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Amazon Fresh.

Yes, Amazon is in the grocery business, and not surprisingly, their technology is amazing.

This is next level. You grab a cart, grab your items, and walk out. That's it.

It's called "Just Walk Out Technology." Amazon Fresh stores install cameras that scan all customers and their items.

You are charged for those items through your Amazon account. How cool is that?

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So it was back in 2021 when we learned that Amazon Fresh was coming to Eatontown. It's 2023 as of this writing and the grocer is still not open.

Rumors are flying all over the place, including one that says "people in the know" say the store has been scrapped and that sister store Whole Foods will be opening instead.

I even heard a rumor that Top Tomato was swooping in.

It seems Amazon Fresh is still planning on opening in Eatontown. When we don't know.

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NJ Biz is reporting that Amazon is putting all Amazon Fresh grocery expansion plans on hold while:

the company revaluates its grocery strategy in an effort to set itself apart from the competition.

The report goes on to say that Amazon is actively looking for ways to make Amazon Fresh stores "more appealing to shoppers."

Amazon is hoping to find the answer to their equation this year.

Until then, we wait. We're left with what's called a "zombie store." Scary.

It's not just in Eatontown.

There is an Amazon Fresh slated to open in Holmdel in the Holmdel Commons.

That project has been put on hold as well.

Watch this space for updates.

Amazon Fresh isn't on this list, but I bet your favorite store is!

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