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Whole Foods Market coming to Augusta

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Whole Foods Market plans to open an Augusta store in late 2014.

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The natural and organic foods supermarket will locate in a 41,000-square-foot retail space at the Washington Crossing Shopping Center, on Washington Road near Interstate 20, according to a news release.

“We’ve been looking at the Augusta market for some time,” said Mike Howard, Whole Foods Market South region vice president. “Augusta is a great city with a lot of interest in natural and organic food, so we are excited to be adding to our roster of stores in the area and to be bringing a new store to the market.”

Between 120 and 140 jobs will be created once the store opens, said Darrah Horgan, a company spokesperson.

Whole Foods offers a selection of natural foods that are free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated fats.

Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, has more than 340 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. There are currently nine locations in Georgia, with eight in metro-Atlanta and one in Savannah.

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Riverman1
94467
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:10 am
3
3
RagingBull's Comments

Although it had nothing to do with the article, I kind of like Ragingbull's post with all the insider info about grocery stores. One thing Food Lion did for the CSRA. They gave us lots of empty buildings to use. We got a Walmart close to my house in one of their empty buildings.

Riverman1
94467
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:13 am
6
2
Translating

"The city needs to focus on coming up with solutions to improve the CBD, South Augusta, East Augusta, Laney Walker, Harrisburg, Turpin Hills, Sand Hills, etc. The CBD only needs the Greenway, substation on Broad, Cultural campus, digital billboard, arena, and performing arts center."

LL, I'll pull out my Dictionary of Countymanese and translate. We need more money from West Augusta to build things downtown and other places in the county.

WTFH
94
Points
WTFH 08/01/13 - 08:40 am
2
0
Real Insider Info

Ok, I have worked grocery retail mgt in this area for 7 years...here's the scoop. Earth Fare will close within 6 months after Whole Foods opens. EF has been fighting with them for awhile and WF keeps opening stores in the southeast around their blueprint. The EF on Fury's Ferry used to be the lowest sales volume in their entire company and the least profitable...now it's in the bottom 10. There is no way it will survive, because it looks like crap now. It had a chance a few years ago to move to Augusta Exchange, but decided not to...bad move.

The Fresh Market will survive and stay open. It struggled mightily in Columbia when WF and Trader Joes both opened around the same time and within a mile of each other. TFM has been in Augusta for a long time and has its regulars. People will go to WF for a little while, but because of the traffic it will create, the customers will head to TFM. The problem with TFM is that they will lose 50% of their staff...all the regulars that have been there forever. It will need to hire strong customer service minded people and begin training and retaining them now!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11294
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/01/13 - 08:41 am
3
5
Location, location, location!!

While some may love the Whole Foods Market, their choice of location will keep me out of there. There's already too much congestion there and as for Fred's, the apartment complex's in the area have become quite inundated with Section 8 renters so that is more in line with their incomes or "crazy checks" than Whole Foods. I'm not being negative, just practical!! If you can't get in and out safely, with traffic traveling 50 mph between the lights, then, how long do you expect it to last?

Riverman1
94467
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 08:47 am
3
1
Interesting Cold Beer

Ummm, interesting Cold Beer. There is such a thing as a site being unfriendly to certain businesses because of too much traffic.

Little Lamb
49343
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/13 - 08:51 am
2
1
Countymanese

Oh, now I get it, RM.

:-)

Little Lamb
49343
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/13 - 08:53 am
2
1
Location, Location

ColdBeer, that reminded me of a Yogi Berra quote:

Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

Right on
221
Points
Right on 08/01/13 - 09:24 am
1
3
Demographics in Richmond Cty do not support growth

So according to the new meals program for all schools in Richmond Cty because there is over 60% poverty rate in the County, I guess we can afford all these high end stores. What a joke, I will believe it when I see it.

itsanotherday1
48436
Points
itsanotherday1 08/01/13 - 09:26 am
3
1
I see it being like another

I see it being like another restaurant. We have no shortage of "healthy" groceries available with Earthfare and TFM, so this won't create more $$, just re-distribute those already being spent.

I kinda feel the same way about Bass-Pro and Cabela's, except they will draw a lot of business from outlying areas that wasn't being already spent here.

All the same, it is good news for the area that new business sees an opportunity here. That bodes well for our local economy.

Jake
34136
Points
Jake 08/01/13 - 09:29 am
6
0
Pricing

I shop for some items at Whole Foods every week but their pricing is higher than Trader Joe's so I buy the majority of items at TJ's. Somehow I don't see most of the folks in the CSRA wanting to pay the higher prices to shop at Whole Foods.
When WF opened in our neighborhood 9yrs ago they offered many unique items that they no longer carry. Watch for the same thing to happen after they have their "Grand Opening" in Augusta.
When I travel to the CSRA and go to Earth Fare I am disappointed in the quality and appearance of their produce. For what they charge that should not be an issue.
Having a Whole Foods and, hopefully, a Trader Joe's in the area is a plus.

OJP
7779
Points
OJP 08/01/13 - 10:13 am
1
0
@itsanotherday1

It most certainly will create more $$$ by way of more jobs. Even assuming the same number of customers will simply be divided between the two stores, there will be approximately double the number of employees. If both can survive in that environment, it will likely be because the corporate parents take a very slight reduction in profit to pay their employees' salaries.

CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 08/01/13 - 10:26 am
1
2
I'm still dubious of

the whole 'organic' thing. Seems like every time there's an outbreak of food borne illness it's tracked back to places like Whole Foods. Whole Foods has already had 19 food recalls this year alone.

countyman
21702
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 11:52 am
4
0
Tons of false comments today

Righton..... The average for the poverty level in Richmond County between 2007-2011 is 23.7%(US Census)..

Apple, Costco, H&M(opening in 2014), Cabela's(opening 2014), Sephora, PF Changs, Genghis Grill, Pandora, etc only have locations in Richmond County and metro Atlanta in Georgia. The state of Georgia is almost 10 million, and Richmond County got the first Cabela's. Whole Foods is only located in metro Atlanta, Savannah, and now Augusta.

internationallyunknown
5073
Points
internationallyunknown 08/01/13 - 11:45 am
3
0
3 out of 4 ain't bad.

"Trader Joe’s Market, which operates 400 stores across the U.S., received the highest marks among those surveyed, with a 90% approval. Whole Foods Market, Publix and Aldi also scored high in the 80% range. Wal-Mart scored the lowest ranking among those surveyed at roughly 35%, while Sam’s Club fared better at 65%."

countyman
21702
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 11:50 am
3
1
Demographics

The only cheaper apartment complex in the immediate area is Ramblewood. I guess the new Big Lots in Evans means section 8 is moving in.

This is the first Whole Foods in the area, and they definitely looked at the surrounding demographics before locating.

Washington road is obviously a long street, but the facts are the facts. How much section 8 in apartment complexes can you have if you're able to support Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, and Fresh Market within 2 miles?

galaxygrl
1350
Points
galaxygrl 08/01/13 - 11:50 am
4
0
Fresh Market

Earth Fare has a seven year lease at the location they are in and they may close since they hardly carry anything in the store anymore. The Fresh Market crowd is pretty faithful. They shop Earth Fare for organic but still use Fresh Market for their main fare. I have worked both places and Fresh Market has a long road to hoe to bring on employees that will stay. They aren't that repsectful of their workers and Whole Foods will clearly represent a new future for the current workers there.
As for the congestion mentioned by someone else, it is an easy in and out without much traffic into and out of the center. It is more about the time of day you go and missing the busiest part.
I am really excited about Whole Foods and can't wait!

Riverman1
94467
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 12:59 pm
0
0
From the Other Article

"The Community Eligibility Option, part of President Obama’s 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, reimburses for meals in school districts that have at least 40 percent of students identified as low-income on a variety of factors.
In Richmond County, 78 percent of students qualified for free or reduced lunches last year while 22 percent paid full price."

countyman
21702
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 01:28 pm
3
0
Gets very old rather quickly

Why do some people always have to go out of their way to portray Richmond County a certain way? The majority of them always live in Columbia County, and then Aiken County next.

What does the amount of kids on free/reduced lunch have to do with this article?

I think some people are mad because they want you to believe everybody in Richmond County is poor and black..

They know it's going to be hard to spin the upscale movie theater, 25 acre shopping center on Jimmie Dyess, H&M in the Augusta mall, commercial development near Kroger, Genghis Grill in the Augusta Exchange, Cabela's, Whole Foods, etc.

I mean in the other article somebody commented the black population of Richmond County is over 90% lol..

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11294
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/01/13 - 01:34 pm
0
2
Past Experience

From my experience working with the public in that specific area, there are more Section 8 renters than in Ramblewood. There are 3 other apartment complexes and a couple of low budget motels. I know 1 of the complexes over the years has gotten to be about 70% and one more has become about 40% and neither of these is Ramblewood. I wouldn't rely on the "numbers" supplied by ARC. Also, don't forget about Skinner Mill Road. The apartments there, which happen to be right across the street aren't exactly Hoity Toity!!!

countyman
21702
Points
countyman 08/01/13 - 02:02 pm
2
0
Facts

I can tell your past experience is based on your personal opinion, and not actual facts. The most undesirbale apartments on Skinner Mill are the old Merrick Place, and they still begin at near $600 per month and stop right before $1,000. The recently built Brigham Woods complex on Skinner Mill runs between $900 and $1400 per month. What about the single family homes on Skinner Mill road? The CEO of Electrolux just sold his million dollar home in Conifer Place off Skinner Mill road due to the company moving from Martinez to Charlotte.

I don't have any numbers supplied from ARC, and why should I believe you over them anyway. Please provide something to back up your claims? Where else in Augusta do you see Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Kroger, and Publix located within 2 miles of each other?

What apartments and hotels are you referencing? The one's along Center West Parkway or just off Washington road in general. The Glen at Alexander off Washington rd(Aleander Drive) cost between $1,000 and $1,300 per month. The rents at Century Hills complex on Alexander Drive is $800/$1,000 per month.

I didn't say 1-2 other apartment complexes might didn't have a few section 8 renters, but you're trying to portray the area is full of them.. What complexes are 70% section 8 and 40%?

Who is going to believe Whole Foods put their first Augusta store and second location outside of metro Atlanta in an area inundated with section 8?

How bad can the apartments on Skinner Mill road be if Conifer Place, Augusta Exchange, etc are located nearby?

Riverman1
94467
Points
Riverman1 08/01/13 - 01:52 pm
0
0
West Augusta is a fantastic

West Augusta is a fantastic area. That's my point again. All those hotels generating all the hotel tax money, plus real estate money and they get little for what they pay. It would be smart to take care of the golden goose.

Fiat_Lux
16454
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/01/13 - 02:08 pm
0
0
I'm happy about this, but

they're expensive and have decided to locate in an shopping center that is nutso in terms of access ease.

Besides, Trader Joe's is what should have beat feet to the CSRA. It's a lot more geared to our demographics than WFs is, IMO. I'd drive to Aiken or Thomson to go to Trader Joe's.

Little Lamb
49343
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/13 - 03:07 pm
1
0
Access

I don't think access to Washington Crossing is that bad. If you need to make left turns into or out of, then be sure to use the traffic light at Center West Parkway. If you can make right turns into or out of, then you can use the shopping center entrances on Washington Rd.

Red Headed Step Child
4496
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/01/13 - 03:53 pm
1
1
Scrawny vegans...

now that gave me a chuckle!

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 08/01/13 - 07:59 pm
2
0
OJP said:"If both can survive

OJP said:"If both can survive in that environment, it will likely be because the corporate parents take a very slight reduction in profit to pay their employees' salaries."
OJP, what business school did you graduate from? I know they do not teach how to run grocery stores in a business school, but have you ever noticed the turnover at a grocery store? That's exactly how they keep the profits coming in; minimum wage, minimum intelligence, except for the higher ups, and still sometimes they slip up through the cracks. I have a friend who has been a grocery store manager since we graduated high school 36 years ago, and he looks like he is 70 years old. He will be the first to tell you, the only thing the Corporation is concerned with is PROFIT, and the less they can pay the more profit they make. They use an equation called Sales Per Man Hour, The higher the sales and the lower the man hour pay to achieve those sales is what they are after.

WTFH
94
Points
WTFH 08/01/13 - 09:42 pm
1
0
Hmmm

A) It's next to I-20...that's why it's in Augusta. Whole Food shoppers come from 30+ miles away...it's very convenient for them.
B) They will take a big chunk of business from EF and TFM...perfect location. They will steal a portion of the sales from National Hills Publix and Kroger. If you don't think there is a high end customer nearby, why do you think Kroger has a mini-Whole Foods department inside it?
C) When WF opened in Columbia, it took almost 20% of sales per week away from TFM. It's going to do well at this location no matter what apartment complex is behind it.
D) WF is nothing like EF and TFM. It is a shopping experience that is so much different than anything that we have. I may not be able to afford it every week, but it will be a fun place to shop. Where else can you buy beer on tap/fill it in a bottle? Huge hot bar, soup bar, salad bar where it is FRESH unlike EF. Their Health and Beauty Care (HBC) department will be huge. It will take EF's $20k in sales away from their department right away. The only scary part is if theft in this department. Security will need to be tight.
E) If you think about it, WF will force our other grocery stores to better their service, product selection, and cleanliness. You will notice a difference right when they open...watch!

RedQuinoa
2972
Points
RedQuinoa 08/01/13 - 09:44 pm
3
1
Pale scrawny vegans? Hardly...

Nice attempt at humor, and it does evoke a funny picture in the imagination...

But in reality, it seems that the commenter's dislike for stores such as WF comes from stereotypes rather than reality.

Indeed, those who disdain people who follow a plant-based diet may enjoy a laugh, but perhaps they should consider the likes of plant-based athletes such as: Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons); Carl Lewis (Olympics multi-gold medalist); Robert Cheeke (bodybuilder); John Salley (former NBA and GA Tech star); Amare Stoudamire (NBA); Taj McWilliams (WNBA); Jake Shields (Mixed Martial Arts/UFC); and many, many more who undertake all sorts of high-level athletic endeavors that defines them as individuals at the peak of health and vitality - thanks in large part to their plant based, whole foods diet.

If that is "pale and scrawny", I'll take it any day over the SAD (Standard American Diet) of processed foods and fat-/calorie-laden, antibiotic-/hormone-injected dead animal carcasses that is slowly but surely sapping the life of our nation.

WTFH
94
Points
WTFH 08/01/13 - 10:01 pm
0
0
Trader Joes...

You know what this means, right? Trader Joes, welcome to Columbia County! They need the spacing between all the competition. In their mind, it would steal some sales from WF by trying to keep the Columbia County shoppers out there. The only other place us somewhere in Augusta Exchange because there is no grocery store anywhere near there except Wal-Mart and Kroger on W'Boro. Who remembers when we had a Harris Teeter in the old Gold's Gym on Walton Way Ext? Why did they never come back? They are a strong company in NC.

itsanotherday1
48436
Points
itsanotherday1 08/01/13 - 10:52 pm
0
0
Thank you ragingbull, you

Thank you ragingbull, you saved me the typing to respond to OJP. At the end of the day,both grocery stores and restaurants are pretty close to a zero sum game, absent significant population growth.

itsanotherday1
48436
Points
itsanotherday1 08/01/13 - 10:58 pm
0
0
I hear ya redquinoa

I'm still an omnivore, but red meat and pork are a fraction of my diet compared to what they once were. I think there is ample evidence that a plant based diet is overall healthier, it is just to much trouble for most people to deal with and we still enjoy that sizzling steak or fried chicken. When I eat a vegan meal, I'm hungry again in 2 hours.

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