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Whole Foods Bringing Store to South Side Chicago Neighborhood

Frederick H. Lowe | 9/14/2013, 12:28 p.m.
Whole Foods Market, the Austin, Texas-based, organic- and natural- foods supermarket chain, announced last week that it would build a ...
Whole Foods Market is opening a store in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

Whole Foods Market, the Austin, Texas-based, organic- and natural- foods supermarket chain, announced last week that it would build a new supermarket in Englewood, a Chicago neighborhood that often leads the news for gun violence.

Keith Stewart, a spokesperson for Whole Foods Market Midwest in Chicago, said, however, that the market's scheduled opening is one part of a solution in helping to make Englewood a safer place to live.

“We think that improved services will be just one part of the solution,” Stewart said. “We recognize that there are a lot of different initiatives now in place in the community to address improving the overall safety of the Englewood community, and [we] hope to be able to help with those however we can.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Alderman Jo Ann Thompson, announced on Wednesday that Whole Foods would construct an 18,000-square-foot store that is scheduled to open in 2016.

“I have worked with Whole Foods Market for the last year and a half to invest in one of our oldest neighborhoods and address a pressing need for fresh, healthy food, and I am proud to announce this wonderful new facility that will help meet this need while creating a strong-economic anchor in this community,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The supermarket will be erected on a 13,000-acre development near Kennedy King Community College. The market, which is small-to-medium in size, will provide 100 jobs when it opens. Some 2,648 additional residents live within a mile of the grocery store. It will be the second supermarket to locate in the area. Currently, there is an Aldi supermarket.

Kate Lowery, another spokesperson for Whole Foods, said it is the first time the supermarket chain has opened a store on Chicago's South Side. Whole Foods opened its first store in Chicago in 1993.

“We believe that fresh, healthy food choices, along with information and education about food should be accessible for all communities,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. “We hope that our efforts on Chicago's South Side and in other communities across the country, combined with the work of others, will help make a meaningful impact on the health of our nation.”

Bishop James Dukes of the Liberation Christian Center, a neighborhood church, said Whole Foods would greatly contribute to a healthier community.

“Bringing Whole Foods to Englewood is a smart and strategic decision for our community,” Dukes said in a press release issued by the mayor’s office.

Englewood is one of seven Chicago neighborhoods targeted by Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now program. More than $363 million in public and private investments are going into the area to establish the nation’s largest-urban agricultural districts, expand industrial and housing opportunities and coordinate open-space development throughout the neighborhood, according to the mayor’s office.

Organic Versus Natural Foods

Whole Foods sells organic and natural foods. The designation organic refers to the way products are grown and processed and the use of organic on the label of a food or beverage means it meets or exceeds U.S. national organic standards.