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Oct 30, 2007 08:09 AM

Whole Foods in Chapel Hill expanding?

I had heard that they were planning to expand. When I went yesterday, I noticed that several of the neighboring stores were closing which leads me to belive that they must be planning a pretty big expansion. Does anybody know when work is supposed to start and how far into the shopping center they're going to expand?

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  1. Yes, they are expanding. How many expansions has this store been through? I can remember at least 3! I've talked with a number of staff and they said that although WF didn't worry one bit about the competition from Earthfare, they are worried about the new Trader Joes. I think they are scheduled to start as soon as the domino takes place...meaning, when the PTA shop moves and the other store(s) finish close-out sales.

    Also, staff told me that Whole Foods is looking for property near the south side of Chapel Hill for a brand new store.

    What would you like to see in the new store?

    4 Replies
    1. re: wintersummer

      "What would you like to see in the new store?"

      Aisles wide enough for 2 carts to pass each other. Bakery line that doesn't require the person at the back to sit in the cheese case or the wine racks.

      Will the WF expansion yield results so pleasing as the Southern Season Expansion?

      1. re: wintersummer

        How about lower prices! If WF plans to compete with TJ I think price rather than expansion is the best way to go about it.

        1. re: bbqme

          I don't think price is what Whole Foods is as concerned with. Even with Trader Joe's, WF will still have a much better produce selection, a better cheese selection, and a better meat/fish selection than TJ's. I will probably wind up going to TJ's for anything that's packaged or prepared, and to Whole Foods for my fresh products.

          Last month I wound up at the Whole Foods in Milwaukee, which was probably 2-3 times the size of the Chapel Hill one, and just fantastic. Things they had there that I would like to see moved to this one are more prepared food options (pizza, pasta, asian counter, etc...), a larger selection of some of the brands they carry (for example, they used to carry fewer of the Rachel's Yogurt flavors, but there may be more, they just lack the shelf space), the meat and dairy sections could be expanded, a larger bakery counter, and I imagine they have more frozen items they could carry, they just lack the room for them. However, larger aisles would be the best addition by far.

          1. re: cheinonen

            There's a reason its moniker is Whole "Paycheck"...

      2. Yes, wider aisles! I remember how aisles decreased in width during last remodel. I don't even take a cart up/down aisles, but just walk because it's so tight.

        I'm just guessing here, but I think they will really expand the pre-prepared food section, to bring it up to some of the newer WFs around the country AND to compete with TJs.

        I don't think it will approach the success of the Southern Season remodel (which I guess wasn't really a remodel, since they moved to a new location, just formally occupied by the dept store). I just have to wonder how much more Whole Foods can get out of this very old Chapel Hill location. Someone told me one time that it is one of the top revenue producers of any WF in country. I don't have any proof of this statement, but it's interesting to ponder.

        7 Replies
        1. re: wintersummer

          I can easily believe that the CH location is one of the top revenue producers because it is always packed in there, no matter when you go. Along with brokegradstudent, I will be thrilled if the expansion brings more space to move around. I would also love to see one of those wood burning ovens like I have seen in some newer stores, but I don't know if that's even a possibility.
          That's really interesting that they're thinking of building a second store in Chapel Hill. With Trader Joe's moving into the area, it looks like our food shopping options are really going to diversify.

          1. re: ncpearl

            Any option other than Weaver Street Market is great with me .. bad parking,small as heck isles, and very expensive even for a co-op.

            I have always liked the old Wellspring/Whole Foods locale .. but these days that parking lot is a nightmare too ..

            1. re: HootyHoo

              That is so funny, I always considered Weaver Street much cheaper than Whole Foods. Now that I've moved to Raleigh and am forced to go to Whole Foods, I am sad. I miss reasonably priced wine and amazing baked goods at the Weave.

              1. re: dubedo

                I don't live in Chapel Hill anymore, and yet near a WF, and I miss Weaver Street this day, six years on. With the bread and baked goods, there is no comparison. Even compared to the good little local, very European bakery here in Winston-Salem, Weaver Street has some of the best bread I've tasted in NC. My husband had to hunt for something for his grad thesis in UNC CH's library last week, and I asked him to bring home some bread...he did better by also bringing the most fabulous pumpkin cupcake.

                I also prefer Weaver Street's vibe. Just less corporate...because it's not.

                1. re: lilyanna

                  I live just 4 blocks from weaver st. and I fully agree. It has that european neighborhood vibe, with great great baked goods. WF is plastic...

                  1. re: lilyanna

                    I agree that Weaver Street has by far the best bread and baked goods in the area and they are very reasonably priced. However, their produce selection is pretty sad and their prices on basic food items like milk, canned goods, etc. are fairly high.
                    I find that each grocery store in the area has certain things they do best. This means I end up shopping at about eight different places, but I'm really glad to have all the options to pick and choose from.

                    1. re: lilyanna

                      By FAR the best baked goods are at Weaver Street. WF's stuff is pretty lame. I'm also surprised by the produce at WFs - I always think of them as having especially good stuff (they did in DC), but here its only a small step up from the fairly bad produce at Harris Teeter.

            2. "What would you like to see in the new store?"

              a store that isn't so damned full of itself!

              i just wish people in that store would come down to earth a bit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TSQ75

                I don't care for WF. Harris Teeter has better local veg, even some gourmet veg. TJ's is advertising for workers, so they should be opening pretty soon. Good!