Whole Foods Is Coming to Englewood, Chicago’s Poorest Neighborhood

September 9, 2013  |  

Whole Foods, also comically called “Whole Paycheck” for its expensive organic and natural groceries that can make a well-intentioned shopper to go broke, is coming to Englewood, Chicago, one of the most violent, high-crime cities in America, Business Insider reports.

We know what you’re thinking. Whole Foods has a reputation for breaking the bank with their exorbitant prices on fresh fruit and vegetables, so how is it a good idea to place it in Englewood? It’s true that the city has a substantially low average income of $11,993 and about 42 percent are living in poverty, but the supermarket chain promises that their products will be affordable for the residents, according to ChicagoBusiness:

Michael Bashaw, president of Whole Foods’ Midwest unit, said prices at the new store in Englewood will be “a little less” than in other stores in other neighborhoods, thanks to lower overhead from a small building and the company’s work with suppliers to keep wholesale prices down.

The new superstore is expected open in 2016 and will supposedly employ 100 workers. It will also be within walking distance of nearly 3,000 Englewood residents.

“We are honored and excited to be asked by Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel to join in these efforts to make fresh, healthy food more widespread in Chicago,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. “His challenge to me last April helped us to consider new business models to provide fresh food and economic development in neighborhoods that need it most.”

On a broader scale, Whole Foods has been trying to shake off their “Whole Paycheck” image by announcing nationwide sales through their social media networks, like the five-hour buy-one get-one free deal for ice cream they had last month. “The chain also is increasing one-day sales on items like salmon, blueberries and organic chicken to 17 this fiscal year, from 14 last year,” The Wall Street Journal said.

It was the recession, Robb said, that was the wake-up call for Whole Foods to make their prices more widely available for the masses.

Is this a positive addition to Englewood?

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