Crain's Detroit Business: Whole Foods Market browses in Midtown
Employers, the city and private foundations zeroing in on Detroit's Midtown neighborhood to lure new residents to the city may have a secret weapon in their arsenal: Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc.If you had asked me last week which major supermarket chain would have been the first to come into Detroit, the last chain I would have expected would have been Whole Foods. Instead, I was expecting it to be Meijer, which is slated to open a store in the old State Fairgrounds area on Woodward and 8 Mile. Looks like I was wrong.
Crain's has learned that the grocery chain, known for its organic produce and above-average prices, is shopping for space in Midtown.
Sue Mosey, president of newly created Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit encompassing the former University Cultural Center Association and New Center Council Inc., confirmed last week: "There has been some expressed interest by Whole Foods in looking at the possibility of a store in Midtown."
On Wednesday, Mayor Dave Bing went one better. At a private lunch meeting of young professionals and corporate supporters of talent attraction efforts in Detroit, Bing said the deal with Whole Foods was getting close.
"It's not a question of "if' but "when,' " he told an attendee in a side conversation.
Honestly, this entire thing doesn't look like an effort to bring produce to the people in the neighborhoods, which is desperately needed, and something a chain like Meijer or Kroger could do. Instead, it looks like a plan to spur on the revitalization of one of Detroit's existing bright spots and make it more attractive to investors and people moving in from outside the area. That's not a bad idea at all, and it might make for a good start, but it would only be a good start.
It's also a good PR move. Right now, this article is the most read on the site. It's even beating news about Charlie Sheen's bombing in Detroit on Saturday. It also has 719 likes on Facebook. One of them is mine.