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Nov 21, 2012 03:16 AM

Whole Foods to Open New Store in Asheville

Whole Foods has announced that they will open a new 35,000 square foot store on Tunnel Road in Asheville in 2014. It will be on the site of a K-Mart that is closing in January, 2013 and is directly across Tunnel Road from Asheville Mall. It will be new construction.

They also said that they will keep their Greenlife store open at its current location on Merrimon Avenue. That's hard to believe as the the traffic congestion there is already bad enough without the new Trader Joe's and Harris-Teeter being open yet.

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  1. Are you surprised at all by that Tunnel Road location? Seems awfully close to the Merrimon store. I would have expected something more toward the south, which would have also picked up customers from H'ville. Where will the Trader Joe's be?

    4 Replies
    1. re: danna

      The Trader Joe's will be on the southwest side of the intersection of Merrimon and Chesnut. Harris-Teeter is building a large new store on the north side of that intersection. And TJ's will almost be contiguous with Greenlife. I think that it will be a traffic nightmare! I can't believe Greenlife will be open after the Tunnel Road store opens.

      I can't really address the location issue other than to note that there's a fairly new Earthfare store in the south that would seem to offer strong competition to Whole Foods. The only possible competition that I can think of on Tunnel Road is the Ingles near the tunnel.

      1. re: JTomWilson

        Thanks! Well,opinions may differ, but I don't see Earthfare as much competition for Whole Foods. I have not stepped into the Earthfare in G'ville since Whole Foods opened. WF is better and less expensive. But apparently they are drawn to hideous traffic locations, e.g. Woodruff rd. in G'ville.

        1. re: danna

          I agree with Danna...much prefer WF to EF. The trick to avoiding Greenlife traffic/congestion in the parking lot is to avoid Merrimon altogether! Come in the back way off Broadway by the Dripolator and park in the overflow lot in the back. Always an easy in/easy out!

        2. re: JTomWilson

          I hope what happened when the Charleston Whole Foods Market opened in Mount Pleasant to the Earth Fare that used to be there won't happen in Asheville. The Earth Fare store couldn't handle the competition I guess and shut down. Now there is only one Earth Fare store in Charleston in West Ashley on the mainland.

          I think the more competition the better.

          Where I used to live in RI there were three Whole Foods Stores. One was 5 minutes away from another. Each was located sort of on the opposite borders of the part of Providence where RI School of Design and Brown University campuses were. Later they built a third 20 minutes away. They seemed to compete with each other which was nice.

          When I moved to SC I noticed that in the Charleston Whole Foods it seemed a little more casually run than these RI stores were... as if they knew there was no competition and the only other Whole Foods Store in the state of SC was 5 hours away in Greenviile... and with Earth Fare shutting down... Oh well. That left zero competition as there are no independent natural foods stores in Charleston. In RI almost every town had a natural foods store in addition to # Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

          Raleigh Durham area is similar. With the prestigious schools there and the thriving triangle area they must be up to 6 or 7 Whole Foods stores by now.

      2. A curious choice for this newest WF location. Tunnel Rd is one most often avoided by most in Asheville, particularly on weekends and of course holiday time. There is already a large, new and very busy Ingles very close to town and the demographics of that store are pretty mixed. WF clientele would seem to be primarily N. Asheville around UNCA and affluent neighborhoods near Grove Park or S. Asheville near Biltmore Park so building on the east side of town seems an odd choice. Seems like it would make more sense to sell their Greenlife location to Trader Joe's - giving them a larger store and be somewhere closer to N. Asheville or S. Asheville instead....time will tell.