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Whole Foods making push into low-income neighborhoods

Although Whole Foods has a reputation for being on the pricier side of the supermarket spectrum, and therefore more commonly found in higher-income areas, it’s now attempting to make a change by opening up stores in low-income neighborhoods.

Whole Foods recently opened up a location in Englewood, a low-income neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is part of the retailer’s strategy. Since 2003, the company has opened locations in Detroit and New Orleans; and Newark, NJ, is next on its list.

wholefoodslogo Opening locations in low-income areas could prove to be a risky move for Whole Foods, especially considering the company’s stock has gone down by 15 percent this past year, but the retailer remains hopeful that its new location in Englewood will succeed.

“We aren’t doing a nonprofit here,” Co-Chief Executive Walter Robb told the WSJ. “The model is slightly different, but to be clear, we’re operating to run a successful business here in Englewood.”

The city is also coming together to help Whole Foods succeed. The WSJ reported that the land was sold to Whole Foods for just one dollar, and the company also received $10.3 million in tax subsidies. In total, the development cost around $20 million.

Whole Foods has also done its part to make its store more appealing to people in the area by lowering its prices for basic grocery items, as well as adding items that locals said they wanted to see in the store, including beer, wine, and beauty products.

So far, the new store seems to be a welcomed addition by community members.

“This was a parking lot, but now look at all the people here,” Englewood resident Way Williams told the WSJ. “It is about time, we need something to be excited about here.”