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GRDadof3

Whole Foods and Other Retail

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A Whole Foods has been brought up on this forum before as a great addition to downtown retail.  I happened to find this page on Whole Foods' website regarding what they look for in a potential site:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/realestate/index.html

Let's see:

1.  Check

2.  Possibly.  I can think of one of the buildings proposed for Mid Towne Village, that might have highway visibility, foot traffic from Heritage Hill/downtown area, and Michigan Street/College traffic:

http://public.carwm.com/public/carpagerpt....LS=349364&C=&B=

or maybe Blue Bridge Ventures new mixed use project on North Monroe.  The WAM site is pretty good sized, and the GR Spring facility is about 100,000 square feet.

3.  Check

4.  See above

5.  Check

6.  Check

7.  Check

This page shows the Whole Foods contact person for Michigan

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/realestate/brokerlist.pdf

Although Whole Foods is mainly in suburban locations in Michigan (I consider that part of Washtenaw in Ann Arbor suburban :P ), they have done Whole Foods in many urban settings.  A non-profit group in Pittsburgh was very instrumental in bringing a Whole Foods to a blighted area in East Liberty:

http://www.pwapgh.com/portfolio/whole_foods.html

What about Cherry Street Landing?

Hmmmmm..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This post got buried in the "New to the Forum Thread", and I don't know if everone saw it. It seems like with the collective intelligence and vision of this group, we could put something like this together like they did in East Liberty, Pennsylvania, instead of waiting for everyone else to make things happen.

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My wife would move downtown today if she knew a Whole Foods was moving in. I really think GR is ready for something like that.

Along the same lines does anyone know about the "gourmet grocery" being built on the Monroe Mall? I'm hoping it's something like my absolute favorite grocery/deli in Chicago, http://www.foxandobel.com/. This place is incredible. The Gilmore's Bite Cafe is a similar idea but on a much smaller scale.

Combine some stores like this with a Schuler's and we'd have people coming downtown rather than driving out to Meijers for sure.

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There was this ARTICLE about the new market ;) I did send an e-mail to the Whole Foods contact person, but it is probably a waste of time without having some clout and a development plan that they would be interested in.

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\Yes, I think that's a great idea. Any chance of getting a Trader Joe's to open shop in downtown GR? I think that would be great!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Trader Joe's will follow after Whole Foods. They are usually the "Burger King" to the "McDonalds".

Bad analogy, :D

Nitro

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Whole Foods or Trader Joes would be perfect for GR. I have to move back to GR from Chicago in August and I am going to miss both of them. esp Trader Joes. It would be perfect for downtown and it would increase the influx of people down there.

Kelly

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necromancy4ay.jpg

:rofl:

While I agree one of these two would be quite nice for Grand Rapids, I do know of SOME instances where the Burger King came before the McDonalds :P

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necromancy4ay.jpg

:rofl:

While I agree one of these two would be quite nice for Grand Rapids, I do know of SOME instances where the Burger King came before the McDonalds :P

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Whole Foods will only locate downtown if there is enough core population to support it or it is able to draw from the entire metropolitan area. To do that, people have to view it as an "event" worth driving 20 or 30 miles for. You have to have ample parking and easy access. To make this work in downtown Grand Rapids, you need to look at their Austin store, which is also their corp HQ. The store is located on the ground floor of their 6 story bulding downtown in an area that will soon have 10 condo highrises over 20 stories. The underground parking is efficient and plentiful, and you can accesss from 3 sides. The store itself carries every concievable food form the ridiculous to the sublime. There are 6 in store restaurants and the largest seafood selection in the south. That is the event that you need in GR to draw the affluent shopper that will drive past Meijers. If they ever build Riverplace, it would be the ideal location on the ground floor, however, the parking needed may be problematic although solvable.

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If they ever build Riverplace, it would be the ideal location on the ground floor, however, the parking needed may be problematic although solvable.

Where is "Riverplace"?

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Where is "Riverplace"?

Maybe they were thinking "Riverhouse" I don't know if there would be enough full time residents yet in downtown to support a national chance like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's etc.

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Below I have clipped a quote from one of the national retail consultants for New Urbanism, that appeared on another listserv that I am on. The consultants name is Bob Gibbs, who happens to run his business out of Birmingham, Michigan.

He may also have inroads and insight to anyone out there who would like to work to get Whole Foods here, in DOWNTOWN not in the Burbs!!

If a retailer, like this came and could do mutiple levels of residential, they could offset costs of building a parking ramp, which would negate parking concerns.

However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks may be convincing them that there are enough households, above a certain income level, within a certain radius of their store. I am not sure that we have eclipsed that number yet, in the downtown and immediately adjacent areas.

"I have just learned that Whole Foods Grocery is seeking high density urban locations and will develop 50,000 sf on the first level of mixed use buildings. Up to 20 levels of residential above. No more suburban locations if possible."

Bob Gibbs

Robert Gibbs, ASLA Gibbs Planning Group 330 E. Maple Street No. 310 Birmingham, Michigan 48009 [email protected]

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On the subject of a downtown grocery store, I actually had an interesting talk with Lou Veenstra, who used to own the Pastoor's Market that Butterworth bought out for expansion years ago.

It turns out, the hospital actually didn't use all of the land purchased for the parking ramp that replaced the market. Two or three years after they built the ramp, they came back to Lou asking if he was interested in building a market on the unused portion of the property. Lou asked what would he do about parking, and Butterworth said they'd allow the top of the ramp to be used for store customers. Lou really didn't like the idea of having customers buy groceries on the first floor and then have to take the elevator up to level 6 of the ramp to load their cars, nor the thought of trying retrieving carts from the top of the ramp. The hospital didn't want to give up "prime" ground level parking to the store, so Lou kindly told them "No thanks."

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Just one question, Why to many here want a Whole Foods? What sets them apart from somthing like Family Fare, Meijer, or D & W?

Just Curious.

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Just one question, Why to many here want a Whole Foods? What sets them apart from somthing like Family Fare, Meijer, or D & W?

Just Curious.

Well Meijer will never build DT, and has said they wont (albeit somewhat indirectly) so we don't really consider it.

Family Fare and D&W are the same now, but I also don't think they would ever build DT either, if I remember Spartan has a;sp said they never would.

Places like Whole Foods, and Traders Joes have said "hey we will build in urban locations" plus they offer a more "organic" selection if you will.

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I'm not sure I'd want to see a Meijer downtown anyways. "Alright guys... let's level the whole area from Division & Fulton to Wealthy & College and put in a giant surface lot!!!"

In all seriousness, a small Meijer Thrift like the old days would be pretty cool to have downtown, but definately nothing on the scale of Thrifty Acres.

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Well Meijer will never build DT, and has said they wont (albeit somewhat indirectly) so we don't really consider it.

Family Fare and D&W are the same now, but I also don't think they would ever build DT either, if I remember Spartan has a;sp said they never would.

Places like Whole Foods, and Traders Joes have said "hey we will build in urban locations" plus they offer a more "organic" selection if you will.

Actually D&W did have a store downtown. They closed it because it wasn't profitable. It was in the retail section of Plaza Towers.

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Actually D&W did have a store downtown. They closed it because it wasn't profitable. It was in the retail section of Plaza Towers.

yeah, but that was also before Spartan took over ;) now that they are one and the same I don't think there will be one DT :(

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Whole food sells only 100% organic if I am not mistaken. I like the stuff in their stores, I just don't like paying for it. :blink:

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Whole Foods tends to put as much emphasis on presentation and the "experience" of shopping at their store as they do the quality of the foods they sell. From what I have seen and heard when shopping at the one in Ann Arbor, the employees tend to consider it the Starbucks of grocery stores in regards to working at one...great atmosphere, good comraderie, decent wages, and for a while the company granted stock options to all employees (or at least discounted stock), but not sure if they still do that anymore.

As much as I like Whole Foods, and I'd be all about pulling for one in the GR area, I just don't see it flying yet for the company. While the demographics might be there in GR, I don't know if the mindset is yet. My guess is that we are 3-5 years from getting to the point of having a viable population downtown for them to set up shop.

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Whole Foods is a pleasant experiance to shop, though expensive. I was in Northern Virginia last summer and came across a store like Whole Foods, except I dare to say on a larger scale. It's called Wegmans (http://www.wegmans.com) Has anyone ever heard of it? Pardon the continued use of anologies, but this I think would be compared to Meijer as Cabellas would be compared to Gander Mountain.

This might also be a store to look into....

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Does whole foods ever build in downtowns? If one were to come to GR, I would expect it to land way the hell out on Beltline or Rivertown Pkwy. The only one I've ever been to was in a strip mall.

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Here is my question, if there is such a demand in GR for a "Trader Joes' or a "Whole Foods" why doesn't someone take the initiative and open a similar type store themselves?

I do understand the capital and investment that would be required but heck if the demand is so great I assume the payoff would be worth it. So why wait for another big corp to come to GR instead of having a locally owned company take charge of part of Downtown?

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Does whole foods ever build in downtowns? If one were to come to GR, I would expect it to land way the hell out on Beltline or Rivertown Pkwy. The only one I've ever been to was in a strip mall.

If it were a choice between Rivertown Pkwy and the Beltline, Whole Foods would go on the beltline because the demographics they could tap into, I.E Forest Hills, EGR, as well as GR Township, tend to make higher incomes and thus able to afford the premium prices that comes with organic foods.

Riviertown Pkwy looks wealthy but thats because the buildings are fairly new. Other than that Grandville, the west half of Wyoming, and Walker are a mix bag of working class and moderate middle class that are more budget minded than say EGR and Forest Hills.

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