Thursday, May 31, 2012

☞ SHOP: Whole Foods Has Plans on Harlem

The arrival of Whole Foods in Harlem has been quite a myth as of the last couple of years but now news has it that the company's co-CEO has directly confirmed the chain's plan to set up shop uptown in a press conference yesterday.  John Mackey let it slip that Whole Foods was indeed opening up in Harlem but the official word today from corporate is that the option is just being explored for future locations. Whole Food's arrival uptown has all been rumors set up by mostly developers at this point but now the company heads have come out and confirmed that this could actually happen.  Read more on Curbed: LINK

27 comments:

  1. Here we go again. I'll believe it when I see it. Although I think this would do better than people might assume - a huge amount of their business (and I'm guessing a bigger chunk of their profits) is prepared food and buffets do well here. Their prices actually aren't that bad. If I were them I would look on 125th but farther West near FDB to draw on FDB as well as West Harlem / Columbia area. You'd still get traffic from Lenox/5th on either side of 125th street. People are willing to walk a few blocks for whole foods.

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  2. This would be great for Harlem, however I’m not sure Harlem has the customer base to support a WF (Whole Foods) market, unless they plan on customers who will travel more than walking distance to the store. Also, compared to similar stores WF is relatively expensive. However Fairways is a success and Wild Olive seems to do well so maybe there is room for a WF. But you can count on WF doing their homework and only developing a store if it is viable. Hope this is a reality.

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  3. Take out the Pathmark or Applebee's on 125th. Don't make it a schlep like the one on 99th.

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  4. Whole Foods would thrive in Harlem. The prices are comparable to Fairway and Wild Olive (on most items) and the product is much better. It would be nice to see a supposedly organic, environmentally and socially concerned corporation really walk the walk.

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  5. @Guest: Take out the Pathmark for Wholefood ? Do you realize where you live ?

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  6. I think Best Yet is a better model, not wild olive. Best Yet is constantly packed, where as wild olive is a ghost town most days. Which is why they would likely favor the FDB corridor, or at least they should. Though i'm having a hard time thinking of large enough retail footprints over there.

    The other thing to consider about Fairway is that it has parking which draws people with cards from much farther north and south than other markets might.

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    1. I'm with GG.

      I'll believe Whole Foods is coming the day one opens around here.

      I figure that one would do pretty well in the FDB area.

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  7. Agreed, WF would do well on lower Frederick Douglass Boulevard as it has the greatest density of immediate customers, but I would rather see WF in central 125th Street. Probably the best location is near transportation and immediate customers, maybe 125th and FDB, there is a newly opened lot right there. But I will believe it when I see it.

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  8. WF would do well in Harlem. Despite popular opinion I believe Harlem can sustain a WF. Keep in mind that a Harlem location will draw folks from each Upstate and the Bronx. 125th & 6th would be a great location, but it would be cool to see it nearer to 135th & 8th.

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    1. or in the Balton on 127th and St Nicholas... right across the street from the subway. I think it would be GREAT and a welcome addition to the neighborhood!

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  9. As a WFM stock holder I have been petitioning them to at least consider our lovely village. WFM has a way of bringing people to them, if you doubt that ask the folks in the LES who got a WFM when I lived there and people had similar concerns that one is always packed now.

    I say bring it on, and let's see what happens. WFM is expensive for sure but they also have their 365 brands which are priced very similarly to every other market in NYC. They even started coupons a few months ago for those of us who take the time to clip coupons.

    Knowledgeable staff also make it a very pleasant environment to shop in.

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  10. 125th & Lenox seems like the most sensible option what with access to multiple forms of transport. Believe it when I see it though!

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  11. Whole Foods will definitely be looking somewhere near 125th and Lenox Ave....that area is very popular for a number of reasons and always full of people.

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  12. Come on people... Baby steps... Harlem needs a Trader Joe's first.

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  13. Trader Joe's doesn't have the guts to come to Harlem. Instead they opt for the very, very safe Upper West Side.

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  14. I agree w/@Guest. The Pathmark on 125/Lex is disgusting!! I would welcome completely changing it to Whole Foods in a heartbeat.

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  15. Fun facts time! As of the 2010 census, within a mile of 125th street in Central Harlem, there are more than 20,000 people from families with household incomes > $75k a year (not counting Morningside Heights). 1 in 3 whole foods customers makes less than $50k a year. After all, a rotisserie chicken, Baguette + Salad that can serve 2+ can all be bought for $15. Whole foods may not be so crazy to think it could work.

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  16. GG that is exactly my point, people hear whole paycheck and they believe it.

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  17. pignoli, i would totally favor a trader joe's over whole foods anyday. that's my personal opinion.having lived in harlem all my life, trader joes' prices are comparable to the prices at my local ctown.however, the complaint i hear from my friends is that whole foods offers an almost endless variety of products which is true.also, the ready-made food business from whole food alone has morphed into its own pitstop subculture the way starbucks has become.it becomes one of those easy choices for someone to come in, get a bite, hang out for a bit, and even do some shopping.for this reason,the 125th st location makes great business sense.i would still lobby for a trader joe's either on the east side or in west harlem which has begun to bloom slowly but steadily.west harlem could use an anchor like trader joe's.also trader joe's doesn't need as much space.just look at the 72st one which is my go-to location.there is definitely room for both in harlem.

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  18. Citydweller,
    Nothing against Trader Joe's, but I don't see them showing any courage. They've had opportunities but they're most recent venture was the very safe 72nd Street and Broadway store. An area already very populated with good food options. If a Trader Joe's opens in Harlem, I'd be happy. I just think there is a much better chance that it would be Whole Foods before Trader Joe's.

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  19. @Guest. If you find the Pathmark on 125 to be disgusting don't go there. But if you have a bunch of mouths to feed and not a helluva lot of money to do it--that's your supermarket.

    So you can argue Whole Foods v Trader Joe's until the proverbial cows come home. Just remember where you live and who your neighbours are.

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  20. Sanous #39. I think you underestimate your neighbors.

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  21. Sanou's Thrifty MumJune 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    On my block we know what the end of the month is like and I would
    Not want to be at the register at Whole Foods asking the cashier to take an item off because there's not enough left on my EBT card.

    I love Whole Foods. I hope we get one. But to suggest it replace a Pathmark or any supermarket that serves a whole lotta people and does a good job of it is just ridiculous.

    I also love Pathmark. Great prices.

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  22. Honestly, I can't imagine why I would do my shopping at Whole Foods unless they happened to open right next to me - Fairway has pretty much everything they have at better prices.

    Trader Joe's, on the other hand, I would welcome in a heartbeat.

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  23. Where there's a Whole Foods..There's an eventual opening of a Trader Joe's. Just wait..it's coming.

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  24. Whole Foods almost certainly did their due diligence before choosing a location. Suggesting they pick a spot on FDB is a little like suggesting someone buy last year's hot stock. I hope they join the emergence of Lenox Ave. I'll shop there.

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  25. I agree with Valgb, people need to get off the FDB high horse. Just because that has become the "Broadway" of Harlem doesn't mean that stores have to be located there to be successful. Lenox Ave is emerging as a more culturally interesting Avenue anchored by Red Rooster and a location that feels like Harlem with it's beautiful churches and rows of brownstones.

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