Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), the upscale grocery chain that made headlines in June when it opened its first Detroit store, is now moving into an even rougher neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, according to Business Insider.
The chain announced it will open a store in 2015 in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, an area that produced actress Jennifer Hudson and Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose. But the neighborhood also includes three of the 25 most violent blocks in the U.S. in 2012, and was ranked as the 19th most dangerous neighborhood in the U.S. last year by DailyFinance.
The new 18,000-square-foot store, which is scheduled to open in 2016, is expected to create about 100 jobs and put 2,648 more residents within a mile of a grocery store. There is currently a limited-selection Aldi store in the Englewood neighborhood, but the nearest full-service grocery store is more than two miles away.
Whole Foods may be trying to shed its "Whole Paycheck" nickname by launching the inner-city stores, but a company spokesperson told a Chicago television station that the 21,000-square-foot Detroit store is profitable and has exceeded the company's expectations on sales. And at least some Englewood residents interviewed by the station said they already shop at a Whole Foods in the South Loop, more than seven miles north of the neighborhood. "I take two buses, but it's worth it" for the quality and selection, one said.
The Whole Foods store will be part of a tax-financed development that will also include other retail space and a park.
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