A few weeks ago, Whole Foods Market and the City of Chicago unveiled plans to open a Whole Foods market in the impoverished 16th ward. I worked in Englewood as an educator for a few years and it's definitely an area that lacks access to fresh produce and other quality foods. However, I am also somewhat skeptical because I view this as a further attempt to gentrify the area and push out minorities. My reservations aside, it would be nice to have a Whole Foods on the South Side of Chicago (where I live), especially since it's conveniently near I-90/I-94 and close to public transportation. At present, all of the city's Whole Foods are either near or in the downtown area or on the north side of the city.
Here's a link to the article: Whole Foods Market to Open Englewood Store in Food Desert
On Wednesday, officials will announce what community leaders and others are calling a major coup: luring the chain to one of 11 parcels of land that the mayor has promoted to grocery CEOs since June 2011 as ripe for new grocery store developments.
Emanuel was followiing through on a promise. Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) also campaigned on the same promise.
“In my first campaign in 2007, I promised I would work on trying to bring a grocery store to the 16th ward. Now it’s coming,” Thompson said. “That site has been vacant for many years, and this is the first grocery in the 16th Ward in at least 30 years.”
The store will be across from the rebuilt Kennedy-King College, which anchors the area.
As for its potential success, Whole Foods set a precedent earlier this year in Detroit.
The chain, which offers an affordable house brand of 2,000 products — the 365 Everyday Value and 365 Everyday Value Organic lines — opened a similar urban store in June in Detroit. That 21,000-square-foot, inner-city store is seeing profits.
“We’ve been very pleased with how it’s doing,” Robb said. “The proof’s in the pudding, isn’t it? In the end, if we open a store and work with the folks in that community, we certainly understand it has to be affordable. I like the challenge of how we continue to bring that high quality of food we offer, yet make it affordable and accessible.”
"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...