Detroit Mayor Announces Whole Foods Market to Open Detroit Store

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announces the opening of Whole Foods in Midtown hoping to bring $200 million in grocery spending back into the city

Detroit — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing joined Whole Foods Market executives, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation president and CEO George W. Jackson, Jr., and others to announce that Whole Foods Market has signed a lease to open one of its nationally renowned stores in the heart of Midtown Detroit. The 20,000 sq. ft. store will be located at the northwest corner of Mack Avenue and John R Road.

“I want to thank Whole Foods for recognizing that Detroit is a great investment,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “The demand is here, because Detroiters are spending $200 million outside the city for groceries. Whole Foods Market and DEGC’s Green Grocer Project are sure to bring those dollars back to Detroit.”

DEGC worked with a developer, Ram Realty Services, to structure a public-private partnership to lease the property to Whole Foods Market. “Without a public-private partnership under the auspices of the Green Grocer Project, this deal would not have happened,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which manages the Green Grocer Project. “This partnership will leverage a substantial amount of overall investment in the project from a variety of sources.”

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Whole Foods to the City of Detroit. Whole Foods’ investment in Detroit represents not only construction and retail jobs, but I am very pleased that the company has also committed to purchase and promote local products,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, who participated in discussions with Whole Foods and helped secure the company’s investment.

“In my discussions with Mr. Robb over the last several months, he assured me that they not only wanted to invest in Detroit, they want to be actively involved in the community. I want to congratulate Mayor Bing and DEGC President Jackson and everyone who worked so hard to make this great economic development news a reality,” says Stabenow. 

The opening of a Whole Foods Market in Detroit will have significant benefits to the city and Midtown residents and visitors. 

It will redevelop a key parcel adjacent to the Detroit Medical Center on a main thoroughfare, located directly on Midtown’s Greenway Loop and the additional grocery store capacity will strengthen Midtown Detroit as a viable residential neighborhood. 

Whole Foods is a leading national retailer that will attract other retailers, bringing new jobs and offering better consumer choices to the residents of Detroit. The high quality of Whole Foods Market will increase competitive market pressures, further improving the fresh food offerings available to residents, and because of Whole Foods Market’s corporate philosophy and business model, which is centered on providing the highest quality, natural and organic foods, its investment in Detroit will add to and amplify existing community efforts to catalyze a healthy eating movement in Detroit.  

Whole Foods Market will become a partner in efforts to strengthen Detroit’s local food economy. Potential partnerships could include workforce development initiatives, creating new markets for local food producers, and piloting other innovations. Eastern Market will be a part of those initiatives. 

Whole Foods Market will increase the national exposure of Detroit for grocery investment and food entrepreneurship. Annually, $200 million of Detroiters’ spending for grocery purchases is spent outside of the city of Detroit. Whole Foods Market’s investment further signals that there is opportunity for retailers to capture a portion of that within the city itself.

DEGC’s Green Grocer Project (GGP) is an ongoing effort that supports better food choices for Detroit consumers across the whole city. Since it was launched in May of 2010, the GGP has worked with 12 independent grocers on a variety of initiatives. GGP has facilitatated over $800,000 in grants and loans to Detroit grocers to help them undertake expansion and improvement efforts.

With assistance from the Green Grocer Project one new independent grocery store has opened and another independent is scheduled to open soon.