Two weeks ago I wrote about DC’s efforts to prevent Walmart from opening stores in poor areas of the city and Detroit’s efforts to shower goodies on Whole Foods to open a store in the wealthiest part of town.
Last week, I mentioned a produce store in Detroit – Kim’s Produce – in the midst of an article complaining about the lack of produce in Detroit. I also said this:
Kim’s Produce, by the way, is just down the block from the new Whole Foods site. They gotta be thrilled.
This week, I give you this:
The Whole Foods store planned for Midtown hasn't broken ground, but already its influence is being felt on Detroit's neighborhood grocer scene.
The owners of tiny Kim's Produce on Woodward Avenue, a few blocks from where Whole Foods plans to open in 2013, will close their store next week and instead sell fresh produce and other items directly in downtown office buildings.
Kim’s Produce is an actual mom-and-pop shop, owned by Kim and Hollis Smith. And props to them, they’re sticking with it and choosing to take their operations mobile – although we’ve seen how Detroit treats its other mobile food operations. Admittedly, there are other reasons why they are leaving their Woodward location (as I pointed out in last week’s post, it seems people simply don’t choose to buy their products). But at least they got to drop this quote as a parting gift:
The Whole Foods development presented another obstacle when the grocery chain was able to lease the Midtown property for $6 per square foot, which is a far lower rate than many retailers are charged in the area.
The private developer behind the Whole Foods project might get up to $4.7 million in state and city of Detroit tax credits as well support from private foundations to build the store.
"They got a sweetheart deal on their rent and, to us, it was like a sweetheart foot in the you-know-what," Hollis Smith said.
Icing on the cake: the Smiths are also Iraq war vets and Hurricane Katrina survivors.