Whole Foods is hopeful in bankrupt Detroit
An executive with the supermarket chain says he has 'a good feeling' about the store that opened June 5 in the economically strapped city.
Detroit is bankrupt, but at least its residents have a place to pick up organic produce, fair-trade coffee, and the latest in imitation meats.
Walter Robb, a co-executive with Whole Foods Market (WFM), sounded optimistic about the high-end grocer's recently-opened store in an interview with Bloomberg. The report was presumably produced before the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection Thursday.
Robb said he is an "unabashed capitalist" who believes in business and making money.
"I love this project," he said. "I have no idea how it's going turn out, but I have a good feeling about it."
Whole Foods' Detroit location opened on June 5 after years of planning and, according to the report, almost $5 million in incentives from the city and state. It is located in the fast-growing Midtown neighborhood, which includes a large college-educated, higher-income population.
The report included a glimpse at Detroit's less fortunate areas, where Whole Foods Market executive operations coordinator Red Elk Banks pointed to graffiti and empty lots.
"It's a moment when you challenge yourself and say our goal coming to Detroit was to make an investment that mattered," he said.
Whole Foods Market Detroit is part of a three-store pilot to test lower-priced stores. The other stores are coming to New Orleans and Chicago's South Side next year. A half-gallon of organic reduced-fat milk goes for $4.39 in Detroit, according to the report, a full dollar less than its price in New York.
The store has hired 97 employees, 72% of whom came from Detroit. It has a Detroit sensibility, with tables made of car hood and checkout lights decorated with Motown records.
Robb has also made a personal commitment to make the store affordable and accessible. He said he was "troubled" that Whole Foods Market was only touching some communities.
"This store here in Detroit is special because it represents the first time we've stepped into a market that we've not really ever served before," Robb said in the report. "This is an 85% black community here."
Whole Foods Market Detroit has been embraced by local officials, according to Bloomberg. George Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, called it "more than just a store" to the city.
"It serves as a model for other retailers when they're going through a decision-making process of whether or not to locate in the city of Detroit," he said.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +5.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -4.50. U.S. equity futures hold modest gains despite cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade six points above fair value. Some volatility is expected around 8:30 ET when the nonfarm payrolls report for February crosses the wires. The Briefing.com consensus expects the reading to come in at 163,000.
Reviewing overnight developments:
- Asian markets ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei ... More
More Market News
Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'