It's the indent in the dirt that changed everything (Hopefully!) Whole Foods Detroit did not update us at today's
press event media mania with an opening date more specific than "spring 2013," but that did not mean that today was not important. The groundbreaking for Detroit's major chain grocery store (currently, the only of its kind but Mejier is right behind) entailed a slew of suits on stage. Pretty much all the "influentials" got to say fairly un-groundbreaking things about the groundbreaking before getting out the shovels. Which is to say it was nothing we have not heard before, but the crowd ate up the boosterism like hungry vegans unleashed on gluten-free organic baked goods.
Mayor Dave Bing spoke about focusing on the positive and believing in Detroit, which was followed by Midtown Detroit's unofficial Mayor Sue Mosey explaining that this Whole(TM) ordeal was a complicated transaction that required a lot of work. When all was done the Whole(TM) ordeal was important for who showed up more than what was said. We got a Senator (Michigan's Debbie Stabenow) and Peter Cummings, chairman of RAM Realty Services, the owner and developer of the site. And of course, we got Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, sporting a WF apron. As he told The Detroit News he couldn't recall the last time he attended a store groundbreaking. It's his way of saying this store means more than just a place to shop; he's aware of the real estate dreams riding on this venture. As we reminded you this morning, the incentives involved amount an effort to buy the brand's reputation for revival.
Would the media circus have been as big were we getting a Kroger instead as our first major chain grocery in the city? Hell no! The Whole Foods means more than shopping; it's about impact on the surrounding area. Sure, the chatter was about community building but the real craze is about property values. And that is why we're all clapping like idiots for a hole that most dogs with a bone could put to shame. Let arugula lead the way to a real estate revolution.
· Previous Whole Foods Detroit coverage [Curbed Detroit]
· America's Most Important Grocery Store's Most Important Day (At Least Until It Opens) [Curbed Detroit]
· Detroit Whole Foods breaking ground as CEO touts 'healthy food for all' [The Detroit News]
· Whole Foods breaks ground in Detroit with emphasis on community, collaboration [Freep]