Whole Foods vs Fresh Market
I hear lots of great things about Whole Foods grocery stores, and they seem the default choice for shows like Top Chef when available. I've never had the chance to shop at a Whole Foods, as there are none in my area, but there is a local Fresh Market. While Fresh Market has a few nice things, and a nicer butcher section than most other grocery stores, it never seems to match up to the selection available at Whole Foods that I see on TV.
So, for those who have been lucky enough to shop at both, do they compare at all? Is Fresh Market a pale comparison of Whole Foods, or do I have some overinflated view of Whole Foods from what I have seen on TV?
Whole Foods overall is better than Fresh Market. I grew up with Fresh Market, I love a lot of things about them. Whole Foods has the advantage in market share and product choices. For me, while there is a smaller selection at Fresh Market, hometown loyalty will probably lead me to continue to shop the meat counter for special occasions. I do not turn my nose up at Whole Foods by any means.
I think they are very different stores., although there is some overlap. They are both relatively small stores. WF is much more oriented towards the organic and natural. They have an in-house private label brand that is a good value. FM is aimed at a much wealthier demographic and has a very different ambiance. Slightly dimmer lighting, classical music playing, very nice produce, an impressive meat selection with a butcher on hand, great pastry selection, etc. Overall, its much more pricey.
IMHO they are quite comparable. I don't like either.
In Huntsville, Al. there is an organic grocery store that just opened up this year that I much prefer. I don't remember that name of it though.
Although they are similar, they are different in many other ways. Whole foods definately has a larger selection and more non-food items. I find the service at Fresh Market is not nearly as good as Whole Foods. I still go to both though.
I think the answer to this question can not really be generically answered. For instance, the Whole Foods Market closest to my house just doesn't have the wide open, clean, fresh feel to it like the closest Fresh Market. The meat selection at that Fresh Market is very good and always appealing unlike WFM. The same with the produce. On the other hand, the While Foods Market a few miles away is huge, bright, has an overwhelming selection of both produce, meat, baked goods, and prepared foods and doesn't hold a candle to the Fresh Market located closest to it. That one is much closer aligned in look, style, and selection as the ones shown on television, whereas the one closest to my home doesn't remotely come close.