From the Hive

Go, Amazon Go.

By Allison Beadle, founder & CEO of Wild Hive

Having started my food marketing career working for one of the most innovative grocery companies in the world, Central Market/H.E.B., you could say I have a “thing” for grocery stores. So, naturally I have been looking forward to checking out Amazon Go in Seattle.

I love the convenience of Amazon. But I really do not enjoy the user experience of Amazon. I find the site incredibly overwhelming—I’ve been an Amazon Prime customer for years, so you’d think I’d have it down, but I don’t. It’s too crowded, there’s too much information, it’s not intuitive, and sometimes I just can’t find my bearings.

Could the online jungle of Amazon actually pull off a decent brick and mortar shopping experience?

I’m here in Seattle and just checked out Amazon Go this morning. And yes, Amazon has pulled it off.

Some takeaways from my shopping experience. And a video and photo gallery up on the Wild Hive Instagram account.

  • As you approach the store entrance, there is a wall of windows into the kitchen where Amazon employees are preparing all of the fresh takeout food that is sold in the store. Win. The kitchen is pristinely clean, and I can see what they’re making. It’s REAL.
  • A super friendly Amazon employee, David, stands at the entrance to greet the shoppers. He’s wearing a bright orange sweatshirt, so there’s no mistaking that he’s with Amazon. He immediately welcomes me and asks me to open my AmazonGo app. I let him know that I’m a newbie, and he walks me through the process with the most delightful attitude.
  • The store is very small—just 1,800 square feet—but it does not feel cramped or busting-at-the-seems with products. There is a nice balance of signage throughout the store. I immediately feel like I know what I’m doing. This “real world” Amazon shopping experience is much better than the online experience.
  • For now, Amazon Go is giving reusable shopping bags to its customers for free. Smart. If they could figure out a way to do this permanently it would be a big win. Relieve your shoppers of having to remember to bring in their reusable bag or charging them a buck to buy one to add to the collection at home.
  • The product assortment is impressive—tightly curated to cover the essentials whether you are shopping for conventional, natural and organic, or specialty items. Whatever kind of customer you are, Amazon Go has you covered. They have clearly nailed the data analytics.
  • And all product categories you would find in a traditional grocery store are covered. You can even buy a single roll of toilet paper.
  • They’ve even got a few products to simply surprise and delight—small, lesser-known brands and even limited-time local brand partnerships. I bought a Theo Chocolate/Amazon Go dark chocolate bar.
  • There is only one other employee working on the floor. She’s restocking items and working the beer and wine case. I ask her what it’s like working at the store and she says she loves it, “It is so much fun to see how our shoppers enjoy the experience.” We banter a bit—she’s very friendly and helpful. So this store-of-the-future is not lacking the human element.
  • I spot a couple of Whole Foods 365 items on the shelves, but there is surprisingly zero pull-through of the Amazon Whole Foods branding in Amazon Go. Amazon Go was in beta for over year before the store opened, well before they acquired Whole Foods.
  • The prepared food assortment is impressive—definitely pulling through all the right trends to appeal to a customer base that is a mix of Millennial, urban, upper-income, multi-cultural shoppers.
  • And they have meal kits. Fresh, healthy, worldly flavors ready to bring home and prepare a meal for your family. I’d rather buy a meal kit from Amazon Go than order one and have it shipped overnight to me—fresher, (potentially) safer, less packing,
  • And checking out? Well, this might be the best part. I just leave. And moments later a receipt with images of all the products I purchased is waiting for me in my Amazon Go app. No waiting in line for someone else to check me out. No self-check out mistakes that have to be corrected by an employee. I’ve added a good 10 minutes back to my schedule by not having to go through the traditional check-out process.
  • My only real complaint is the music—it felt like the music they play at the gym, which is just not my style. Probably intended to make me pick up the pace and shop quickly.

In short, I’m a fan. If there was an AmazonGo near me, I’d definitely shop there. Amazon has demonstrated that it can take the brick-and-mortar grocery store into the future without losing the best elements of the real-world shopping experience.

Allison Beadle

Allison’s marketing career began as a registered dietitian working in oncology. You read that correctly. Working in the clinical world gave Allison a heart for people and the role of food in healing, but after a couple of years, it was time for a change. So, she made the leap to the food industry where she worked in marketing and managed nutrition communications for the Central Market division of the H.E.B. Grocery Company. She was blessed to work with some of the most remarkable, interesting, and intelligent people in her career.  It was here that she found her passion for food storytelling and marketing.  She found that her background in nutrition science, love of food, fascination with culture and travel, innate desire to continually connect with others, and expressive nature were a good mix for educating consumers, professionals, and industry members. And innovating.

As the president and CEO of Wild Hive, she does everything you might imagine she does.  Each day, she gets to work with awesome people, incredible clients, inspiring industries, innovative entrepreneurs intent on changing the world, and she travels a good bit.  And she’s grateful each and every day for the opportunity to build a business that thinks and acts differently and hopefully makes life better for everyone it comes in contact with.

Prior to launching Wild Hive, Allison was senior vice president for Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. where she counseled numerous brands and commodity organizations including Chobani Greek Yogurt, the California Raisin Marketing Board, Paramount Farms (Wonderful Pistachios), the Tri-Lamb Group, TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, the National Mango Board, Sunsweet, the California Table Grape Commission, the United States Potato Board, and the Texas Beef Council.

As a former retail dietitian, Allison has a special place in her heart for the trailblazing dietitians who are doing amazing things to educate consumers and transform the retail grocery industry.  To that end, she helped spearhead the launch of two game-changing initiatives focused on helping retail dietitians succeed: the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) and Fleishman-Hillard’s ‘What’s in Store.’

Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in nutrition science from Boston University. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), she is past-chair of the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).

Allison is wife to Brian and mommy to Audrey (6 years) and Walker (3 years).  More than anything in the world, she loves traveling and exploring with her family…taking her kids along for exciting adventures to big cities, small towns, countrysides, islands, and everywhere in between.  She’s an eighth generation Texan.  And it’s never a dull moment in her world!

Brian Beadle

As Creative Director for Wild Hive, Brian combines nearly a decade of professional design experience with his passion for food, fitness, and healthy lifestyle. Along with overseeing brand development, graphic design, photograpy, and marketing, Brian provides strategic insight on trends analysis and forecasting for Wild Hive and our clients. In addition, he is responsible for implementing ongoing nutrition issues and media monitoring for several Wild Hive clients.

As the strategy lead for BeetElite, Brian worked with numerous national cycling media outlets, such as Peloton Magazine and Bicycling Magazine as well as negotiating sponsorships with professional cyclists. For the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA), Brian was responsible for developing the organization’s logo and branding, which was incorporated into web design, newsletter design, and additional marketing materials.

Currently, Brian provides design direction, creative strategy, and media research & outreach for the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC) and WOOM Bikes USA, an innovative local Austin, Texas bicycle company.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. Brian is an avid cyclist, musician, dad, foodie, and a registered landscape architect in the state of Texas.

Mary Kimbrough, RD

An award-winning food service professional and communicator, Mary has extensive knowledge and experience in operations, program development, implementation and training, in the realm of food, nutrition and culinary arts.

A producer of real solutions to her clients, Mary can tap into her trusted network of professionals in the culinary nutrition field to craft the ideal product or service for the project at hand. This active network is the culmination of a rich and varied career and her dedication to efficient problem solving. Mary is that exceptionally vital link between food and food manufacturers to recipe to plate on the table.

Mary’s expertise in the field helped her create a healthful dining concept, menu, and recipes for Royal Caribbean International Food and Beverage Departments’ new class of ships – Oasis of the Seas. The liner’s Solarium Bistro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a transparently healthful menu that allows the guests a choice when dining. Additional clients have included: American Heart Association, Amtrak, Giordano’s Pizza Sara Lee/Hillshire Farm, Custom Culinary, Quaker/PepsiCo, Welch’s, Puente Inc., Amtrak., Texas Beef Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Weight Watchers/Gilsa Dairy division.

In 2006 she created Food Roots LLC, a premier Texas culinary and agricultural tourism company offering unique health-focused Texas food and wine experiences through custom tours, cooking classes, and dining adventures.

Prior to establishing these enterprises, she was director of Nutrition and Hospitality Services for the University of Texas Southwestern University Hospitals. In this position, she was recognized for her vision and leadership in marrying the culinary arts to the science of nutrition in foodservice. Her masterful blend of healthcare nutrition and culinary excitement has earned Mary numerous accolades. In 1998, the International Food Manufacturers Association presented her its Silver Plate Award, and Restaurants & Institutions magazine named her food service department an IVY Award winner.
Mary’s numerous seminars, lectures and workshops focus on the message that nutritious food is also delicious food. In 2007, Mary was selected to present The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Lenna Francis Cooper Memorial Lecture at AND’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (the second highest honor given to its members). She also has collaborated with The Culinary Institute of America Certified Master Chef Victor Gielisse in co-authoring In Good Taste: A Contemporary Approach to Cooking (Prentice Hall), a textbook-cookbook that joins culinarians and dietitians in the pursuit of nutritious, contemporary cooking.

Mary provides years of hands-on experience to professional organizations such as AND, mentioned above. She is a charter member and former chair of AND’s Food & Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group, a past board member of Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) and has served as Chair for the Dallas Chapters of Les Dames d`Escoffier and the American Institute for Wine and Food. She is a founding member of Foodways Texas, a current board member in addition to serving as their education committee co-chair.

David Burk

David is a successful entrepreneur, executive, culture creator, idea generator and technology strategist. Companies he has founded have garnered many awards for product, service, business, and culture excellence. As a result, he was named as one of the top 100 most inspirational graduates in the 75-year history of the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

David’s areas of specialty include mapping transformational technology solutions to business problems, strategic leadership for emerging technology groups, and translation of communications plans into supporting interactive campaigns.

David is a recognized leader, communicator, manager, and expert in emerging technologies and niche marketing. He has been retained to formulate the Internet, Web application, and digital strategies for entities such as the California Raisin Marketing Board, California Olive Committee, Autodesk,, Visa, AT&T Interactive, Cisco Systems, John Muir Health, Hewlett Packard, Restoration Hardware, PeopleSoft, Jelly Belly Candy Company, 21st Century Insurance, and many others. David has also garnered recognition as governor-at-large for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, judging national interactive and advertising competitions, and managing many award-winning initiatives.

David’s career began in traditional advertising with Dailey and Associates Advertising (American Honda) and Young & Rubicam (Nissin Cup O’ Noodles). After receiving his MBA, he was founding marketing director for Wild Packets, the premier provider of software-based network troubleshooting tools. In 1995, he founded Clear Ink, one of the earliest interactive marketing firms, and grew it into a $150 million integrated marketing communications agency by 2000 with acquisition of a direct marketing agency and the recruitment of a foremost advertising creative director. In March 2009, he was elevated to chairman of Clear Ink and joined Fleishman-Hillard as leader of the firm’s West Coast Digital practice. After building that practice from scratch to a multimillion dollar endeavor, he founded The Electron Shop in 2013. The Electron Shop acts as an outsourced Chief Digital Officer for companies seeking new ways to grow using technology.

David earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and a Master of Business Administration degree in general management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Jeff Gross

Jeff is an accomplished researcher and analyst with more than 30 years experience fielding numerous B2B and B2C market research studies. He is the founding partner of Integra Marketing Research, which applies sound and proven marketing research principles, whether to tried and true study designs or to innovative methodologies to properly answer business questions.

Jeff founded and operated the full-service marketing research firm, Gross Marketing Research, for 27 years. Prior to Gross Marketing Research, he held positions in marketing research on the client side at The Pillsbury Company and Del Monte U.S.A., as well as on the supplier side at Edwin J. Gross, Inc. and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates.

He has conducted numerous market research studies for food industry clients including C&W Frozen Foods, Del Monte U.S.A, Discovery Foods, Farmhouse Foods, Golden Heritage Foods, Mariani Packaging Company, Nakano Foods, Nancy’s Specialty Foods, Henry’s Supper Shop, Otis Spunkmeyer, San Francisco French Bread Company, Culinary Brands, Taylor Farms, the American Lamb Board, the Tri-Lamb Group, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Honey Board, and the National Mango Board.

Jeff received his B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Lake Forest College and his M.B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago. Jeff is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and resides in the Lake Tahoe area where he enjoys skiing and mountain biking.

McKenzie Hall, RDN

By combining her love of working with people, expertise in nutrition and health, and passion for food and cooking, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, McKenzie Hall Jones found her career sweet spot. Couple that with a knack for writing, insatiable curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm and you have a career that feels more like an adventure.

Prior to joining Wild Hive, McKenzie co-founded Nourish RDs, a successful nutrition communications company that consulted with agricultural boards, food companies, and other health professionals to provide an array of nutrition marketing and public relations services, including social media strategy and management, spokesperson and media outreach, recipe development, consumer-friendly and evidence-based blogs and articles, public speaking and workshops.

McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition, and her numerous articles can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, The Daily Press, The Morning Call, Buffalo News, and more. Her recipes and nutrition advice have also appeared in SELF Magazine, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health,, and Huffington Post.

Megan Lacy

Megan Lacy is a communications professional whose message development and media relations expertise has exceeded objectives for clients across industries. She has experience managing and synthesizing complicated issues in order to develop impactful, clear messaging to support overall communications goals.

Megan has strong experience in public awareness, education and advocacy efforts for clients across government, business and non-profit sectors, along with a proven track record of delivering strong media relations results and counsel on a variety of communications issues.

Most recently, Megan served as the managing director of communications for the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, an equestrian sport non-profit organization focused on serving the Hunter and Jumper disciplines. She also served as director of the USHJA Foundation, which provides funding to USHJA programs and provides grants and scholarships to USHJA members. In these roles, she wore virtually every hat—strategic counselor and tactical implementation lead, guiding and executing email marketing, social media, content, media, and issues management strategies.

Prior to the USHJA, Megan worked for international communications firm FleishmanHillard, supporting clients across numerous industries, including food and agriculture. In her tenure with FleishmanHillard, she led numerous accounts, exceeding client objectives. Clients ranged from Tri-Lamb to the Department of Homeland Security. Her experience working with food and agriculture, state government, federal government, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits allows her to easily integrate into an organization’s workflow and lead teams to success against shared goals.


Megan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Janet Greenlee

Janet Greenlee is a strategic communications counselor with expertise in issues management, crisis communications, strategic planning and sustainability. Her current portfolio includes work for Vulcan Inc. in reputation management and crisis communications as well as communications around ocean health issues including sustainable seafood. Her work often highlights the importance of sustainability messaging as a foundation for crisis response.

Janet has recently secured coverage of Vulcan’s portfolio in such publications as New York Times magazine, National Geographic, and Forbes, and placements on CBS, NBC and CNN International.

Janet enjoyed a 16-year tenure with Fleishman-Hillard where she managed its Austin office and was co-chairman of the firm’s food and nutrition practice group.  Her issues management and crisis counseling skills were applied to the National Mango Board, Cardiology Advocacy Alliance, NatureSweet, Seaton Healthcare, and Abbot Nutrition.

In addition, Janet developed leadership within the sustainable agriculture space, working with NatureSweet, American Lamb Board, and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association to deliver credible, science-based messaging. Her deep experience in issues management and crisis communications includes more than 10 years directing the work of Dairy Issues Forum, a communications network that supported the California dairy industry. She has managed food recalls and labor relations issues as well generating thoughtful responses to challenges from advocacy group.

During her eight-year tenure at Ketchum Communications she managed clients including the California Raisin Advisory Board (where she launched the dancing raisins), Paul Masson Wines, and Lewis Galoob Toys. Ms. Greenlee also directed Ketchum’s Speakout! media training program where she trained such personalities as Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower, Marion Cunningham, and other food-oriented representatives.