Chains venture into land of indies in Detroit

11/12/2013 04:36:00 PM
Coral Beach

Although corporate officials at Meijer did not respond to requests for comment, the chain does own another piece of property in Detroit where it could build another store.

The site is the home of the former Redford High School in northwest Detroit and Meijer may be building there in the next couple of years, according to a news story in the Detroit Free Press newspaper.

Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi told the paper there’s no announcement yet about that site.

“It’s prepped for a store but our focus is on 8 Mile right now,” he told the Free Press recently.

The new Meijer store at the Gateway Marketplace is at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds. It measures 190,000 square feet and is among more than 200 Meijer stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Whole Foods cuts prices

When he addressed attendees of the United Fresh 2013 show in San Diego earlier this year, Whole Foods co-chief executive Walter Robb said the chain’s commitment to lowering consumer costs is embodied in the opening of the store in downtown Detroit.

The lower cost stores such as the one in Detroit and another planned for a food desert area in New Orleans are made possible by having fewer employees and more frozen and pre-wrapped foods, according an interview AdWeek did with Whole Foods co-chief executive John Mackey.

After about two months of operation, the plan appeared to be working out at the 21,500-square-foot store.

The Wall Street Journal reported in August that sales at the Detroit Whole Foods store were double the level expected.

Robb told the Journal the store’s performance proves the chain can win over value-oriented consumers if it makes minor changes to its pricing and product selection.

“We haven’t been there long, but so far, it suggests this might be a positive for us,” Robb told the Journal.

The Detroit location is the sixth store for Whole Foods in Michigan. Nationwide the chain has 365 stores.


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