Whole Foods Market Portland Maine

Whole Foods Market Portland Maine – Photo / William Hall Whole Foods’ only Maine location, the Portland store shown here, opened in 2007. New Hampshire has opened two markets since 2014, and a third will open next month.

A new Whole Foods Market will soon serve southern Maine grocers and improve southern Maine real estate.

Whole Foods Market Portland Maine

But the 42,000-square-foot supermarket, expected to open in June, is across the Piscataqua River from Maine, where the Portland store is the only Whole Foods outpost.

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The high-quality organic and natural foods retailer, which was acquired by Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) in 2017 for $13.7 billion, now has more than 530 stores in the US, Canada and the UK. For the past two years — even during the pandemic — Whole Foods has been adding stores about once a month.

The Portland store was established in 2007. A second location in Scarborough was rumored shortly after, but never materialized.

Grand Rapids, Mich., to Cary, N.C., to Westerly, R.I. People have even started a petition on Change.org, asking Whole Foods to move into their neighborhood.

In Berks County, more than 400 residents joined an email campaign and started a Facebook page to get the store involved.

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Whole Foods opened one of its six markets in Washington, D.C., because “the community wanted us to come and own the store,” regional president Scott Olos told The Washington Post in 2013. “Every day we get requests for stores from all over the world. The country “.

No wonder a scathing comment went viral on Reddit and Twitter a few years ago: “There’s no Whole Foods in New Haven. Where can I get green tea ice cream when I go to Yale next year?

Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, does not yet have a store in New Haven, and the nearest store is 15 miles away.

A 2017 study by real estate website Zillow found that US homes near a Whole Foods store appreciated an average of 140% over a 17-year period, more than double the national average. And the boom dates show stores aren’t taking advantage of an already hot neighborhood, Zillow said.

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Another study in 2007 found the same correlation. This trend has also been called the “Whole Foods effect,” which some critics say is fueling the gentrification of inner-city neighborhoods.

In Portsmouth, the fit-out of the store is nearing completion and a recruitment ad is looking for workers to start in June. A Whole Foods spokeswoman declined to say when the store would open or provide other details for this article.

The store is a former Shaw Supermarket which closed in February 2019 after 26 years of operation. The Durgin Square mall, a 135,000-square-foot property, was acquired by Denver-based real estate investment firm Black Creek Group in 2014 for $24.7 million, according to tax records. Black Creek announced in April 2020 that it had signed Whole Foods as a tenant; Terms were not disclosed.

This mall is one of several on Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth. There is a Market Basket grocery story across the street and an Aldi supermarket half a mile away. Hannaford Supermarkets has a store in Scarborough, 2 miles away.

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From location to size, the new store will be different from the one in Portland and differentiate Whole Foods Market’s new location in the market.

The 14-year-old store in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood has a large, 56,000-square-foot space. With a mix of dense residential and aging industrial properties nearby, the site is more urban than Woodbury Avenue.

Unlike the Portsmouth store, the Portland is new construction. Whole Foods was built on Somerset Street after buying a local organic grocer, Whole Grocer, and acquiring the national chain of natural foods stores Wild Oats Market, including its Portland store.

Whole Foods moved from the Wild Oats lot near Marginal Way in 2006 under construction for a new store. Today, that space is home to Whole Foods competitor Trader Joe’s, another national chain with a strong presence in the natural foods sector.

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Whole Foods owner Chandrika Sanyal said at the time: “As an independent store, we do what we have with all the resources we have. We’re very successful. But with the Whole Foods approach, we’re part of a big, big family. Multiple resources and triple for us.

Dan Porta, who has owned Lois Natural Market in Scarborough with his wife Lois since 1993, sees Whole Foods’ entry as a potential profit.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s an improvement in the way people think about food. And despite the competition, we think Whole Foods will choose Portland, Maine.”

At the same time, Hannaford, which has a store on Block Forest Ave., next to Whole Foods, began expanding its natural foods game. In 2007, the chain was certified by Quality Assurance International, the same organization that certifies Whole Foods’ organic offerings. Hannaford also launched a personal line of natural products.

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While Whole Foods helped bring organic produce to the mainstream, some grocers say the company is now mainstream. And the Portsmouth store’s competition may be other large chains rather than small specialty grocers.

It’s likely to draw customers from Kittery and Elliott, which don’t have large supermarkets, and residents are used to quick shopping from the riverfront.

Porta has mixed opinions about whether or not Whole Foods poses a threat to Maine businesses. “It’s going to have some impact on natural food stores in southern Maine, and I might be concerned if they open up the road,” he said. “But each store has a different purpose.”

In its Portland store, Whole Foods showcases Maine-made products, including blue wines from Oyster River Winegrowers in Warren.

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Especially since the acquisition, Whole Foods is on a different playing field. At Lois Natural, he says, “At this point we’re not going anywhere near what Amazon is doing.”

Porta believes the growth of Whole Foods undermines its commitment to fresh, local food. “Who delivers your food, Main Street or Wall Street?” He said.

At Golden Harvest and Carl’s Meat Market, a pair of Kittery fresh food stores that have been around for decades, owner Jim Spencer expresses the same ambivalence.

“We’re not excited [about the Portsmouth store],” he said. “We’ve been there for a while, and we’ll probably see the impact for a few weeks. They compete, but they’re in a different segment. And at the end of the day, they’re just another big grocery store.”

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Also gone is Hannaford, which has more than 180 stores in the Northeast, including one in Portsmouth and a store nearby in York.

Spokesman Eric Blum said, “We welcome competition and have it in all markets. Competition makes all retailers better.”

As for Whole Foods, the company is tight-lipped about potential competition. Whole Foods would not comment on its location strategy or prospects for other stores in Maine. The list of stores developed by the company does not include one.

But that list is out of date. (Some stores that opened last year are shown.) And Whole Foods provides general guidelines for potential store sites. (See sidebar.) High on residents’ wish list: 200,000 residents, mostly college-educated, 20 minutes away.

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Demographics don’t seem to be deal breakers. One of the new Whole Foods stores opening April 22 is in Jackson, Wyo., a resort town with a population of just 70,000 during peak tourist season. You have to go a long way to find 200,000 people — more than a third of Wyoming’s entire population, which has fewer people per square mile than any state except Alaska.

For a company promoting locally produced products, such a small customer base makes sense. But in other states, the distribution of Whole Foods stores is erratic.

For example, Massachusetts has 33 markets, or one for every 208,879 people. Another wealthy and educated New England state, Connecticut, has only nine stores and nearly twice as many people in one place. Rhode Island has three stores, or one for every 353,000 people.

In Vermont, where the company promotes its local products by listing five “preferred local Vermont partners” on its website, the number of Whole Foods Market outlets is zero.

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In a 2013 Washington Post report, Whole Foods acknowledged that many factors go into consideration when opening a new store. “We have a process,” Alhaus said. It is not just a matter of numbers and depends on criteria such as property availability.

Other numbers show that Maines and grocery shoppers in general are doing well, even if Whole Foods isn’t available in their town.

Online grocery shopping has skyrocketed during the pandemic and that trend looks set to stay. March market research forecast from Supermarket News

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