While we’ve been very clear on the fact that many Wild Oats stores were never that successful, and that WFM would be closing a significant number of them, a recent story in the local Gresham Outlook reminded us that store closings aren’t that different from factory closings. In other words, it hurts the locals in a lot of different ways.
Take a look at the opinion piece written by Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis about the loss of Whole Foods, for a reminder of the human side of store closings. Gresham, located east of Portland has a wide range of options, including Fred Meyer, which has always done a good job attracting natural shoppers. But the cachet of a Whole Foods is something that is extra special, when marketing an area.
Of course, the flip side of a Whole Foods closing can be found by searching real estate or apartment rental ads in any area where a Whole Foods operates, or where a new store is slated to open.
“Whole Foods is right around the corner” is a potent lure these days, the equivalent in certain transitional neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn’s Gowanus or Oakland’s Lake Merritt, of not only saying we have good groceries but more importantly, we got enough rich folks here that Whole Foods likes us, too.