Whole Foods Leaving Mid-City

This will be the second time I’ve written about grocery stores on this website. What can I say? I love grocery stores. That’s where the food comes from.

Since the last time I wrote about local supermarkets, I moved from Uptown to Mid-City. Uptown is home to that monsterous shining monument to yuppiedom known as Whole Foods at Arabella Station, whereas Mid-City is home to that cozy, cramped, parkingless hole in the wall known as Whole Foods on Esplanade, or simply “the original Whole Foods.” I always liked the Mid-City location better, though I’ve never been a regular customer at either.

But now the Mid-City location is shutting its doors, and taking with it much of the personality and liveliness of that Esplanade Ridge neighborhood. Initially on hearing this news I thought maybe another health food store could move into the location, but unfortunately Whole Foods owns the property and won’t be selling it because of its potential real estate value. Of course, this means they won’t be renting it out to any potential competitors, so we can forget about another food store in that location.

Since living here my opinion of Whole Foods has steadily dwindled. At first I was benevolent, but had a slight distaste for their high prices. When the Uptown location opened I lamented the increased traffic on Magazine Street and the lack of parking they’d provided for customers. When they put the nearby All Natural Foods & Deli (or whatever it was called) out of business, I began to question why people would protest Wal-Mart but not Whole Foods. I then found out about their questionable labor practices.

Now, with the news of the Mid-City location (which has never been unprofitable) I am just pissed off. This huge corporation comes along masquerading as some sort of community-based farmer’s cooperative, and people just can’t get enough of it! They’re standing in lines spending double what they’d pay at a regular supermarket and loving it! It’s such an unbelievable scam to me, the way they get people who generally support locally owned businesses and oppose huge chains to shop at these places.

And so they’re opening a 52,000 square foot location on Veteran’s Hwy on May 4. That’s nearly twice the size of the Uptown location. All I can say is, if it puts Dorignac’s out of business, I’m going to be livid. I really hope people can see the value in a real local food store like Dorignac’s and not be lured away by the glitz and trendiness of a giant new chain store. It would be awfully sad for New Orleans to lose another of its great old local shopping establishments.

Here’s the Times-Picayune article about the closing.

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