Whole Foods Comes to Englewood

Lee Edwards | 9/11/2013, 3:46 p.m. | Updated on 9/11/2013, 3:46 p.m.
A new 18,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market store is being constructed at South Halsted and West 63rd Street in the ...
(L-R) Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago 16th Ward Alderman, JoAnn Thompson and Bishop James Dukes of Liberation Christian Center were among those who spoke at Kennedy King College about the announcement of Whole Foods Market coming to the Englewood neighborhood at 63rd and Halsted. Photo by Lee Edwards

A new 18,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market store is being constructed at South Halsted and West 63rd Street in the Englewood neighborhood and should be completed by 2016. The grocery store will be located across from Kennedy King College and over 2,648 Englewood residents will be within a mile of it.

Whole Foods Market has been in the Chicagoland area for over 20 years with three locations currently in Chicago’s downtown and North Side areas.

During a press conference announcing the new market, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed that Whole Foods Market has done a fine job being part of the Chicagoland community and by building a store in Englewood they are showing an important commitment to bring fresh foods to the entire city.

“I have worked with Whole Foods Market for the last year and a half to invest in one of our oldest neighborhoods and address a pressing need for fresh, healthy food, and I’m proud to announce this wonderful new facility that will help meet this need while creating a strong economic anchor in this community,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “It’s not one store, it’s not one operation, it’s not one company; it’s a series of things you have to do to begin to give people the opportunity to have fresh fruits and vegetables and meats right in their own neighborhood. That I saw constantly in the campaign, the opportunities that I saw in Ravenswood and Lakeview and Rogers Park did not exist in Roseland, did not exist in Englewood, did not exist in Woodlawn.”

Mayor Emanuel added that the presence of a Whole Foods Market would eventually provide an estimated 100 jobs to the Englewood community. The Mayor also said that there may be opportunities for local farmers and goods producers to have their products sold in the store. Also, culinary students at Kennedy King College Prep and other schools would benefit from a local Whole Foods Market.

According to Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market has been working for the last two years to find a location such as Englewood to build a store.

“My commitment to you is this: …we’re doing to do this together with the community in an inclusive manner, in a respectful manner; we realize the first step is to listen to what the people in Englewood actually want; we know that we can do certain things but without partnering with the community it doesn’t really come out to anything. We’re going to envision a store together and work to build that store,” said Robb.

“The second commitment to you is to the make the fresh, healthy, food accessible. I don’t yet know exactly how we’re going to do that but we’ve had some experience this last year in Detroit.”

However, when asked how precisely Whole Foods Market was planning to make their higher than normal food prices more accessible to the Englewood community, Robb was unable to provide specific tactics.

According to the City of Chicago’s census data that compiled socioeconomic data ranging from 2007-2011, Englewood’s neighborhood has the third highest household poverty rate in the city at 44.4% with only Fuller Park and Riverdale being worst.