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.: July 2006 --> The Whole Foods Effect

The Whole Foods Effect

» And now, the Whole Foods Effect. Residents in several neighborhoods have organized letter-writing campaigns to persuade Whole Foods to move into their area, partly for their own convenience, and partly to raise their property values. "A lot of the blacks are having to move because they can't afford to stay here. These are people who have owned their own homes but have had to leave because the taxes are going up. The affluent is coming in, and the have-nots are moving out, and it's not right." Fran Robertson, Columbia Heights resident who is watching her neighborhood gentrify.
 [ 07.24.06 ]

1 Comment

In our East Oakland (Calif.) neighborhood, merchants lobbied Whole Foods to open in a closed Albertson's (on Fruitvale Ave. east of 580). Whole Foods declined. So our local produce merchant, whose smallish market sells organic produce, Niman Ranch "natural" meats, etc., worked for 18 months and opened a gorgeous, enormous new store in the old Albertson's location. Meanwhile, Whole Foods' prospective new store near downtown Oakland is still a giant hole in the ground.

Our neighborhood - actually several neighborhoods - are delighted to have a family owned fabulous grocery store. The owners took ideas and personnel from Berkeley Bowl. The meat and poultry department is extensive. The market serves the whole community - I see working class elderly black people in there, Mexican-American immigrants, and of course every Subaru-driving yuppie parent within a radius of five miles. You can buy wine, olive oil, pre-made tamales, fresh roast chickens, fresh-cut sushi, organic watermelon, purslane, toilet paper, crackers, bulk candy, bulk grains and beans, on and on. You can buy a latte and drink it at a cafe table outside.

We are thrilled. Whole Foods turning us down is good for our neighborhood. Hope it happens to the rest of you.



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