Online shopping colossus Amazon.com unveiled its first Chicago-area "Amazon 4-star" store Wednesday, in a building that used to house another retail giant in the Oakbrook Center mall.
"This is going to be wonderfully convenient," said Oak Brook resident Glenn Krietsch, a longtime Amazon Prime subscriber who lives near the mall. "It truly seems like a great deal."
It will be more convenient for him to return items there, he said, instead of making a 4-mile trek to the nearest Kohl's store. Which, he said, made him wonder if the Amazon store was really a returns desk first, store second.
Still, he used his Prime discount on the purchase of a bag for storing items in his car.
He predicted great success for the store, which opened with little fanfare. Krietsch learned of it via an announcement on Google.
"This is the least crowded you will ever see this place," he said.
Daniel Schimmel of Chicago, who works in Oak Brook, had gone to the store to return something. But while there, he spied something his wife has been looking for: a light-blue Baby Shark musical plush toy.
"My son loves that thing," he said of Baby Shark.
He was debating whether to give it to the 2-year-old immediately or save it for Christmas.
The Baby Shark toy is, like much of the other merchandise in the store, rated at 4 stars or more by Amazon customers who submit reviews of products they have purchased. Other items are top sellers, or are new and trending on Amazon.com.
Products available in the store ranged from two-packs of Burt's Bees vanilla lip balm and a 30-count package of Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils on the low end, to an Asus Republic of Gamers Zephyrus M laptop computer ($2,199, but $1,999 for Prime members).
The store will not carry food, and there was no clothing there Wednesday. Not all items will have the Prime discount.
But there were books, kitchen gadgets, toys and, of course, Amazon products such as Kindles, Firesticks and Echo smart-home devices.
The store joins six others around the nation. It does not accept cash for payments.
It's in the former Sears building, in the corner where the one-time self-proclaimed World's Largest Store company sold misses' clothing. Sears, an original tenant of the 57-year-old mall, closed its store in April.
Store hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Oakbrook Center store is the sixth brick-and-mortar store for Amazon in the Chicago area, joining Amazon Books at Southport Corridor in Old Orchard Mall in Skokie and four Amazon Go locations in Chicago.
"Oakbrook Center is a great shopping destination, and we're thrilled to bring the Amazon 4-star experience to customers in the area," said Drew Sheriff, director of Amazon Physical Stores.