Whole Foods makes a commitment to feature local, small scale, food producers. This preference gives neighborhood shoppers easy access to locally produced and artisanal foods.
Whole Foods justifies its exorbitant foods prices by claiming their products are a higher quality than competitors. According to one report, most of their items are at least 50 percent more expensive than those at a Trader Joes, Target, or Safeway. That being said, Whole Foods has made a commitment to sell “ugly” produce at a discount. There are also other ways to spend smart at Whole Foods.
Groceries aren’t the only things that get more expensive when a Whole Foods comes to town. Whole Foods’ effect on property values simultaneously drives up rent for restaurants. That increase in rent is reflected in a higher priced menu. New York City is a perfect example of this effect at work.
On the upside, if you're an owner, Whole Foods will make your house more valuable. A study conducted by RealtyTrac, found that when a Whole Foods enters a neighborhood, there’s a 34 percent increase in home prices in the surrounding ZIP code. Sometimes this real estate appreciation can be even more extreme. In 2009 a Whole Foods opened in downtown Detroit, where the median home value was $19,000; six years later it was $80,000. But, as always, more valuable houses come with more expensive property taxes.
On the other hand, renters suffer. Whole Foods attracts more wealthy residents to a neighborhood, and landlords take advantage.
The opening of a Whole Foods indicates to other retail chains, restaurants, and coffee shops that higher income residents are entering the neighborhood. Shortly after a Whole Foods opens, shoppers will likely be able to drink their kombucha while strolling the aisles of Nordstrom and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.