Whole Foods is coming to Chicago’s Englewood neighbourhood.
If you don’t know Englewood, it’s the neighbourhood that produced Bulls star Derrick Rose and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
Unfortunately, it also produced three of America’s 25 most-violent blocks in 2012, and whose 30,000 residents have witnessed 935 violent crimes, including 24 homicides.
The new store is expected to create about 100 jobs, and put 2,648 more residents within a mile of a grocery store.
“We are honored and excited to be asked by Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel to join in these efforts to make fresh, healthy food more widespread in Chicago,” Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said in a statement. “His challenge to me last April helped us to consider new business models to provide fresh food and economic development in neighborhoods that need it most.”
It will be paid for in part through tax increment financing, a means of reinvesting property taxes that’s been criticised as a vehicle for indiscriminate corporate welfare, though one could argue that in this case it’s actually serving its designed purpose of rehabilitating neighborhoods.
We’ve written about how Whole Foods is trying to shed its “whole paycheck” image. Its new store in downtown Detroit got a lot of attention, as well as some criticism for the massive tax break it received. Robb said at the time, “People perceive Whole Foods as only receiving a particular community and I don’t like that.”
The Englewood store is expected to open in 2016.
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