Oh, Whole Foods, why Colonie Center?

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A Whole Foods -- good. In Colonie Center -- maybe not so much.

By Christine Hmiel

soapbox badgeI'm happy that Whole Foods is expanding into our area.

I'll lamely admit that the so-called "grocery store wars" are exciting to me. I shop at Honest Weight Food Co-Op, farmers' markets, and belong to both a CSA and a CSB, but like many of you, I still buy a chunk of my weekly groceries from grocery stores. Having more options for buying affordable, healthy foods along with products for specialty and food-allergic diets is good for everyone.

Competition is good. Investment in our region is good.

The Colonie Center location for Whole Foods? Not good.

Not good at all.

Fine, there may be some perks of the mall location. It is a high traffic spot and accessible by both car and bus. You could almost consider it a good location for foot traffic, except that most of the "pedestrians" drove twenty minutes to get there. The new store will be built within an existing footprint and will presumably rely on the existing parking lot space rather than call for further sprawling construction. Some people consider Wolf Road a central destination and would happily add on a quick grocery store trip while running their Saturday errands. I'm not one of those people. (Much like IKEA, Wolf Road is one of those places where relationships go to die.)

From a revitalization standpoint, the downsides of the mall location are greater than any perks. Colonie Center and Wolf Road don't need the economic boost that a Whole Foods will bring. There are entire articles written about the "Whole Foods effect." The phenomenon goes something like this: A Whole Foods moves into a "transitioning" neighborhood, attracts additional private investment, spurs increased home ownership, and provides the spark for community-wide revitalization. Sounds great for a distressed, aging shopping center with high vacancy rates like Colonie Center, right?

Wait. Colonie Center is already a booming commercial mall boasting all of the congestion and traffic that comes with that success. To borrow Matt Baumgartner's suggestions back when Trader Joe's announced its Wolf Road plans, why couldn't Whole Foods move into North Albany or Menands? Both are easily accessible from 787, would allow for ample parking and would offer opportunities for residential growth. If you build a Whole Foods (or Trader Joe's for that matter), people will go there, regardless of where it is. Just look at the frenzy ShopRite's recent opening caused. People will drive out of their way to line up at the doors and push shopping carts into each other's heels. If Whole Foods was determined to move into a mall, why not Latham Circle Mall? Or Rotterdam Square Mall? As an anchor, Whole Foods would signal to other potential investors that these locations are safe bets and would attract a customer base for existing local businesses.

Yes, there would be other issues to address if Whole Foods had decided to open in a distressed area, not the least of which would be the threat of gentrification once property values soar. But look around. There is plenty of vacant and abandoned property for potentials investors to claim without displacing anyone.

If I had my way, businesses and retail anchors would move back to our downtowns. Families would buy homes in mixed-income communities where they could walk to work, school, and the grocery store. Our distressed neighborhoods would have access to the type of opportunities being thrown at the suburbs. So is it too much to ask that powerhouses like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's consider investing in areas that actually need the investment?

From the view up here on my soapbox, it seems like the only sensible strategy.

Christine is the voice behind Unspeakable Visions. It turns out that most of her visions are, in fact, speakable. You can find her on Twitter at @unspeakvisions. She's also the managing editor for the From Scratch Club, hosting its podcast and book club.

Update and disclosure: Christine occasionally gets store brand products from ShopRite. She reviews and tests recipes based on these products, and the reviews have been posted on a ShopRite blog. She does not receive any monetary compensation from the company.

More of Christine on AOA:
+ Unspeakable Visions of Cheese
+ Local Holiday Wish List: Unspeakable Visions Christine

photo: Flickr user Roebot


I'm with you pal. It's getting harder and harder to believe that downtown will ever be anything worth getting excited about.

"If Whole Foods was determined to move into a mall, why not Latham Circle Mall? Or Rotterdam Square Mall?

I see your point but your argument makes zero cents. No logistical busniss plan would ever go near a crap-hole like Latham Circle or Rotterdam. That is where businesses go to die.

There is not enough parking in Colonie Center to accomodate Whole Foods. Whole Foods will make the congestion on Wolf Road even worse. It will be impassible on weekends.

So many great points!

Remember Whole foods is a publicly traded company (Common Stock: traded on Nasdaq®, symbol: WFM)
as such it's profits do NOT stay in the area - they are either invested back into the company OR are paid via dividends to stock owners.

Yes good will employ capital district residents; yes any sales tax generated from sales will stay in albany county.

I work next to a strip mall in menands with a vacant store front - would I love a trader joe's there - YOU BET - even a Whole Foods but for the foods they offer I agree - Honest Weight and the Farmers market for me.


*agreed. With all the investment in downtown, it would be a feather in the cap for Albany revitalization to locate this store closer to the city center.

No great points!
Menands/North Albany doesn't have demographics/ convienance to those demographics whole foods looks for
Major retail at wolf road and colonie center is great for them. Probably got a sweetheart rent deal. Also as a public company not sure that whole foods is in the ghetto revitlization business.

Shoprite had a frenzy because it was a new typical supermarket And people were/are sick of chopper and Hannaford. Its a place people can go to get grocery items every week that are affordable.. Very much unlike whole foods.

Sears has apparently done this in more places than Albany: they lease out to a company, often Whole Foods, who takes up a portion of their old store, and they shrink and sell a reduced amount of goods. They are betting increased floor traffic will create a Wal-Mart or Super-Target effect where people can get food plus home wares etc. Whole Foods then doesn't have to build their own location. Here: http://www.retailwatchers.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=309

I'm with you - there are so many other places it could go - I avoid Wolf Rd. like the plague but I know I'll find myself there more often because of Trader Joes. Even so I'll probably limit those trips to once a month. I got a gift card to the mall at Christmas and still haven't bothered to use it.

Seriously? They're a business. Going where the customers are is what's best for their business. It's not Whole Foods' job to revitalize depressed areas.

I couldn't agree with this assessment more!!  While I'm a loyal supporter of the Honest Weight Food Coop, and am truly excited for what the future expansion of the Coop will bring to the region and City of Albany (and I long argued this expansion would meet and exceed the void that a Whole Foods would have filled, but now they've announced their decision to make some roots here, as well), the competition will only make the Coop stronger, especially as it makes the tough call to locate to the distressed West Hills of Albany.  

However, Whole Foods is coming, and it is with regret that they didn't make the same tough call to locate to a distressed neighborhood, as well.  While I can't hate them, for they have made the conscious decision to locate in up-in-coming and distressed communities and cities across the nation, it is unfortunate that it wasn't in the cards for our fair City.  Like Matt Baumgartner and others who have made good arguments for why businesses should support distressed regions of the City of Albany, like North Albany, or bolster those on the fence, like the Pine Hills, I'll throw my two cents in and say that the Delaware Ave Neighborhood would have been an ideal place to settle, specifically at the small business strip along Whitehall and Delaware Ave (now how to Advance Auto Parts and Subway).  

While I may be biased, the Mrs. and I are angling to buy a home in this neighborhood in the near future, I think it is ideally suited to meet the needs of the community and bolster Whole Food's bottom line.  For the community, it would help bolster the up and coming blue collar neighborhood of Delaware Ave to the west and help attract investment to the distressed South End to the southeast (which the Habitat for Humanity have done good work bringing affordable housing too, already).  Furthermore, it would help add to the growing walkability of this neighborhood.  Currently, there's the Spectrum Theater, several restaurants, the newly minted All Good Bakers!!, and life's essentials, like hair dressers, a hardware store, pharmacy, etc (and does a model train store count as essential :) ); all a moments walk from sizable neighborhoods in the City of Albany or a 5 to 10 minute bus ride by CDTA 18 from as far away as downtown Albany to the prosperous Delmar.  

For Whole Foods, they would be living up to their mission in bringing organic, healthy products to as many folks as possible and they would be doing this by fostering a distressed urban area, but still be a stone throw away from the affluent suburbs of Bethlehem, Delmar, Slingerlands, and Guilderland, but also conveniently located to all else in the region via 787 and I-87, just a few blocks down the road from Delaware Ave.

To me it is a win-win situation and hopefully the execs at the drawing board over at Whole Food's see this post (along with all the other comments from my fellow urbanists) and reconsider their current strategy and location for the Capital Region.  Just a thought!

I can answer the "Why not Latham Circle Mall?" for you - it's being torn down this summer. Allegedly for Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods. Yeah, they are apparently moving across the road, and presumably leaving a huge amount of empty space in Latham Farms. Horray! What a great use of resources.

Everyone's upset it wont be where they are. Simple fact is we are lucky it's coming at all. And it's going where the money is. Imagine the shame if it came and went to some area that could not sustain it and then it left. Downtown Albany is not a shopping destination. Areas do not get revitalized. They revitalize themselves and then business like Whole Foods come in because it will be a safe bet to do so. And as far as the Latham Circle Mall goes, well, that place is an embarrassment.

So many "First Semester Grad Student" points here. My head is spinning.

Traffic will never be THAT bad in this area. Gripe to people who live in LA or NYC. They'll laugh in your face. Yes, traffic will be "Impassible" once Whole Foods comes in. Hours of traffic jams, cars overheating, people giving up, parking in the median and walking home. All because of Whole Foods.

I advise you to get a grip.

Why, yes, a Whole Foods in Latham Circle Mall would be a much better idea. People invest in dead malls all the time! Oh yeah, let's circulate the petition...

FYI: Latham is a hamlet in the Town of Colonie, so you're essentially arguing for and against bringing WF to Colonie. Make up your mind.

Your points are fanciful and lack logic or knowledge of how business works.

I'm sure Honest Weight loves your argument of "moving" Whole Foods to our "downtowns." How about Central Ave, in the vacant lot near the Police Station? Plenty of blight there. Step right up.

Again, you make zero sense. Whole Foods belongs in that mall as much as Barnes & Noble does. They're essentially the same thing, delivering oft-romanticized items (trade books for "organic ______") in a big box.

So, as romantic and hazy an argument as yours is, the fact remains that, from a business perspective, downtowns simply aren't worth getting excited about. So, let's leave the downtowns to the creators, the thinkers, the small businesses, the people who take things a bit slower. Whole foods will be there, and we all will go there. Some of us once, some of us daily. Overreacting and reciting tired lines about the starkness and danger of *gasp* a Whole Foods (a retail giant) moving into Colonie (a retail giant) just elicits a communal sigh from all of us who dare to strike a balance in our lives.

"If I had my way, businesses and retail anchors would move back to our downtowns."

If I had MY way, corporate entities would give a rats a#$ about the citizens who they are supposed to serve. Not trying to be dismissive, I agree with what you said. I just think that the idea of the corporate conscience isn't a cultural norm anymore.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who things that WF moving into Colonie Center is the worst idea ever. I'm excited about getting a WF in the Capital District, but am not sure I'm willing to fight my way through the 9 circles of hell that will be Wolf Road once WF and TJs are open.

I totally agree Christine. Another big problem is the real pedestrians will have to cross high traffic Wolf Road.
But, i think both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods only cares about attracting an elite clientele.

Why would an established profitable company want to take a risk on a downtrodden neighborhood? Especially when it has space available in an existing building in a spot that's already a destination for shopping? Not only will the groupies waste gas driving there just for Whole Foods and Trader Joe's (as they drive to MA today), but people who are already shopping in the area will also be automatic customers. You don't have that in Downtown Albany or North Albany/Menands. Seriously, stop being ridiculous. Whole Foods likely has an army of people who research potential locations with the goal of maximizing profit and minimizing risk. Do you really think you're smarter than them?

I skimmed the article about the "Whole Foods Effect". It appears that applies in very large cities, which likely have 10 times the population of Albany within a 20 mile radius.... or in some cases, when given money by governments. So if you think Whole Foods is the key to revitalization, perhaps you need to call up your representatives in the Legislature and see if they can fire some more State workers to free up some cash for Whole Foods.

Whole Foods moved to Colonie Center for one reason, and it's the reason that you're arguing against... it's located an established and successful business corridor. The Capital District isn't a high-income area and, based on their prices compared to "normal" grocers, Whole Foods prefers a high-income clientele. Are you aware of what it costs to open a grocery store, especially when there is no existing distribution or office infrastructure in the area? It's a lot of money... a whole lot... too much to gamble in an area like North Albany, Menands, the ghost town called "Latham Circle Mall", or elsewhere, as you suggest. Would I love to see Whole Foods in those places? Absolutely, but I don't blame them one bit for moving into Colonie Center.

Please pull out a map and look at it. The store is going into the center of the Capital District at the intersection of two interstate highways 87 and 90. From a business standpoint (i.e. maximizing return on investment) that is where you put it. People who work buy food on their way home. If you count the cars passing the Wolf Rd. exit at 5 PM, from which the store will be clearly visible a few hundred yard away, you will again see why this location makes sense. Finally, on a weekend the tens of thousands of people who are likely to come to Colonie Center from Saratoga County, Latham, Loudonville, Niskayuna, etc (points North and West with $) are much more likely to go to this store if it is not in North Albany or Menands.

wow, the girl thinks WFs is suppose to not only be a great source of healthy food but, to revitalize an area. the fact that they even come up to the area is a start. all of this area is dead and in need of revitalization. also sound like she lives or travels on 787, who shops in Menands?? hopefully this will be a chance to introduce "mall goers" what a grocery store can be and something they've been missing.

btw thats from someone who travels an hour and a half to a WFs to shop and will go out of my way when traveling to find one. I've been to over 20 of them and most are in nicer areas.

Whole Foods is, in many respects, over-priced jive. They cater to upscale areas (nothing wrong with that), but they have gone very corporate lately. They do not seem to be "authentic" anymore, as each store seems to follow the same formula. Though the formula works, the WF experience now seems rather sterile to me.

During the first year that I lived here, I missed Whole Foods, but I end up in a WF from time to time on my travels. It's convenient and the Quality is usually dependable. You can get coffee and muffins in the morning, good hot-food buffet for lunch, etc. But, stepping into a Whole Foods only once in a while, after years of not having one nearby, makes it so much easier to see that it's largely a marketing scheme. Life seems to be a marketing scheme!

WF is not the end all/be all. The bigger problem is that chains in this area (Albany) are rather mediocre and inconsistent. "The Hannafords" is okay...since they usually seem to have very nice staff, wherever I go.

Albany grocery stores definitely need to step up their game(s). For people disinclined to shop at Honest Weight, I hope Whole Foods does some damage to the market share of Hannafords and Fresh Market. Perhaps those chains will in turn improve their offerings.

Honest Weight is the lone stand-out, and the people in the know will continue to shop there. Unfortunately, the TJ and WF economies of scale may really put the squeeze on the Co-op for certain items.

The people-in-the-know tell me that Fairway Market is the closest thing to the real deal, chain-wise. Perhaps the Capital Region can dream...though I will never abandon the HW Co-op.

Great points, Christine!
For those of you new to Whole Foods, they are known for typically locating to a depressed area with hopes of revitalizing it.

You could almost consider it a good location for foot traffic

Foot traffic, of course!
I will park next to Macy's to get into Trader Joe ('cause they severely lack parking), drop the groceries in a car then leisurely walk the mall to WholePaychex and back (and get some exercise in the process).
I call it a perfect Sunday afternoon!

I would like to see Albany's downtown and other blighted neighborhoods revitalized as much as the next guy, and although this idea has good intentions, it doesn't make much sense at the present time.

Say Whole Foods moves into West Hill or another inner city neighborhood with suitable lot space...Where do you propose people park? When it snows two feet and is fifteen degrees and windy, do you expect that people are going to want to trudge through iced over sidewalks and snow drifts with hands overflowing with bags a block away to their cars? Think about little inconveniences like this and realize that they add up into the decision making process for a company like Whole Foods and carry more weight than you might expect. Parking is a big factor, as much as you might not like to hear it, it is true.

Some of these neighborhoods have been distressed for years and years...You seriously think that the placement of an organic grocery store is going to reverse this trend? Its a start, certainly, but would not be the catalyst that you hope it would be. As other commenters have said, Whole Foods is a business, and NOT in the business to help 'gentrify' inner city neighborhoods. There would be so much more legwork and costs to locate in the inner city anyway: existing building that likely would need major retrofitting/repair or demolition, environmental, infrastructure and zoning hurdles, higher taxes, streets in lousy condition, and lack of parking just to name a few. The Sears space seems to be virtually turn key once they renovate it to their specs.

No chain is going to put more effort and money to locate in an inner city when they know that the best chance for success is on Wolf Road. (Its an ugly truth, but truth) A chain like Whole Foods isn't stupid and they do their research on where the best place to locate within an area is. They are spending millions and already taking a risk on the area, you seriously think they didn't do their homework? Really?

Sorry, but the simple fact is that although there seems to be a rather vocal number of people who live in the city that might shop at Whole Foods, it STILL is not enough to convince companies like Whole Foods to locate in the inner city. Whole Foods seems pretty cool, but they are still a business, in the business to maximize profits. Bottom line. There are many other variables that need to change to make the inner city attractive to businesses like this.

These businesses seem to be 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' with some of you. You whine and complain because there isn't a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in the Capital Region, and then when they finally make the commitment to locate here, you complain about where they decide to set up shop. Really? Appreciate that they finally see the potential in our region to open a store.

I hate sprawl with a passion, but I understand that reversing this trend requires a lot of effort physically and politically and it is NOT as easy as just 'placing' upscale businesses into the inner city. The fact that they are even in the area should say a lot about the potential for the Capital Region.

It's a start!

While I agree in theory that WF should be located in a more 'person friendly' environment, their other locations (business plan?) suggest the opposite. I have been to quite a few WF's out in Mass. that are squarely based in mall locations.

Some would think me shallow for not getting bogged down in all the political, corporate stuff. I have been waiting for trader joes for years and whole foods is an unexpected bonus.
While I think it great when businesses give back, I don't expect them to. I expect that they are interested in their bottom lines. Of course, it's possible to do both but I don't expect it of businesses.
To all the haters...don't be hypocrites -- stay in Albany and shop at the co-op.

I am familiar with the Whole Foods effect, but I don't think it applies to the downtown Albany area. Whole Foods has an impact on areas that were already in the process of revitalization/gentrification. The arrival of a Whole Foods is evidence that the neighborhood is changing, not the catalyst for the change. It is important not confuse causation and correlation.

I witnessed this phenomenon first hand in DC. They moved into neighborhoods well after the average rents went from $750 to $1500 a month and the percentage of population of public assistance had fallen. They were also located within walking distance of several hundred office buildings. Albany does not have the customer base to support the whole foods.

While there is a lot of talk about urban planning, I haven't seen a lot of evidence the downtown Albany region is undergoing the necessary revitalization to support Whole Foods.

As for Menands and Schenectady, I'm not sure the suburbanites from Clifton Park even know where they are. The Wolf Rd. location makes a lot of sense and kudos to them for not building an entirely new structure.

@Jen. We have some of the most fertile LOCAL farming in the country throughout the Hudson Valley, Rondout Valley, and Battenkill Valley. Due to people like you, our area continues in a "depressed" rut because you defend, welcome, and champion socially bankrupt corporations. Please move to where they come from. How about Newark NJ? Hopefully to a 25 mile stretch of box stores, and strip malls completely devoid of any vegetation or natural beauty. You'll love it. It is what you deserve. As a lifelong resident of this region, I feel that, to progress, we need to move on from the superficial mindset of people like you.

For the nay sayers who don't believe big businesses should step up and support our urban centers, here is a good article on how Whole Foods often does step up to the plate, unfortunately just not in the Capital District: http://www.salon.com/2012/05/05/whole_foods_is_coming_time_to_buy/

WF has opened a huge many successful stores and is hugely profitable...which certainly lends credence to the notion that WF knows something about its own business. I'd be interested to know how many successful stores Christine Hmiel has opened. This will allow me to see who has more credibility on the subject.

Where's the counter points and further discussion from Christine on her points? Your post has stirred up some considerable discussion with good points being made on both sides of the issue.

This has always disappointed me about some blog posters...They post an opinion on a hot topic, seemingly knowing they could be opening up a can of worms, but as the comments unfold........they are nowhere to be found!

I know its important not to feed the trolls, (LOL) but I think most of us deserve a good discussion.

J, I'm out of town on business this week with limited access to responding to comments- I forgot my laptop charger so I've had to judiciously dole out a few minutes a day.

I agree the trolls don't need to be fed, but I also wanted to make sure that commenters were able to continue the discussion without me inserting an argument to every single point. I had my chance to lay out my own perspective in the original blog post.

A few points:

I'm really excited that Whole Foods is coming here. On days when I have the energy to battle Colonie Center traffic, I'll shop there. They have great products! So does Trader Joes! I'll be shopping for at least some of my food at both of those stores.

It's not naiveté to believe that corporations have a social responsibility to the communities in which they operate. In fact, many corporations live up to that social responsibility in a number of ways including charitable giving, sound hiring practices, support of local producers and, yes, location decisions. Whole Foods has used their economic power to address neighborhood revitalization in other markets; I was disappointed they didn't do so here.

Of course I understand the allure of Colonie Center, for the very reasons I listed in my post. Though as several commenters pointed out, even a few of the naysayers, people have proven that they are willing to drive out of their way (even hours out of their way) to find a Whole Foods. Given the sophistication of their market research, Whole Foods surely knows this. They could locate off the beaten path, away from Wolf Road and people would drive there.

I'm not suggesting that Whole Foods is positioned to be an answer to our region's food deserts or a catalyst for improved access to affordable, fresh food. I do think, however, that it could have played a role in improving the Capital Region. As President Obama's visit and the recent national attention on our community has indicated, the Capital Region is on the up-and-up. I judge communities not on their technology centers or crowded shopping strips, but on the quality of life and services available in their fringe communities. We cannot rise to the challenge of becoming a magnet for high-paying jobs and investment if we continue to neglect entire neighborhoods and their residents.

I believe that downtowns should be a shopping destination, but I do acknowledge that they aren't the right location for every business. Do you where else isn't the right location for every business?

Wolf Road.

On a final note, it disturbs me that several commenters have suggested that we ought not to question the decisions of major corporations because surely their research teams and executives know more than we do. Imagine if we all felt that way. What a quiet society we would be.

Wegmans is coming to Latham Farms. You read it HERE first. An official announcement will be made shortly.

@D: Wegmans?! In Lathan Farms?! And I read it HERE first?! This is AMAZzzzzzzzzz...

I fail to see any reason to care about this.

Remember all the unholy fuss when Krispy Kreme opened a store?

Put a Whole Foods in Albany? WHY? Yes, let's put what many perceive to be an overpriced grocery store in a an area like Arbor Hill. It sure needs to be revitalized, but there's a teeny tiny problem. Who the heck would shop there? Surely, it won't be the locals since many are on public assistance and can buy groceries for much less at Price Chopper. No they might not be organic carrots, but at half the price somehow those folks will survive. Wait a second. Do they know what organic means? Secondly, do they care?

Many areas of Albany are considered unsafe by many people. I wouldn't be caught dead in Arbor Hill. Donald Trump could empty out his bank account and hand it to me and I still wouldn't drive through there let alone shop at Whole Foods in a neighborhood like that.

Most people in the Capitol Region do NOT live or work in the City of Albany so why must everything be built there? Apparently, the builders and stores don't feel that they need to go there since there's not much there.

Stores sell things. By selling things you go where there's money. Funny how business works. Businesses are in business to make money. That's the bottom line. Sure, some may help out with charitable donations which by the way are a tax write off. So why do you think so many do it? It's all about $$$$$$ and the bottom line.

Somehow Whole Foods will survive being on Wolf Rd and in Colonie Center. And why do you have to cross Wolf Rd to get to Colonie Center? There isn't an ocean on the other side of the mall and plenty of people live over there. Very rarely do people actual walk on Wolf Rd. And why would you walk to a grocery store that's in the suburbs? Do you plan on combining your daily workout with carry your bags of groceries home?

If you don't like it's location, don't go! Real simple folks. All of the complaining is NOT going to make Whole Foods say, "Oh hey, that blogger Christine and a few of her followers think we should find a new location. Some ghetto that needs to be revitalized. yeah, we should do that." Come join us in reality!

A lot of facepalms in these comments..one or two are unabashedly bigoted. Anyway, as a resident of Delaware ave neighborhood and someone who more or less avoids malls and commercial zones whenever possible, you're definitely speaking for me here.

Business will go where the people and profits are...I'd love to see revitalization of Albany's neighborhoods with a mixed use flavor and . I just don't think that a business alone is going to spearhead such development. Just because they tried it in Detroit, doesn't mean it could work here...Very different demographics regionally.

I've been itching to say this...Its a grocery store. Lets say that a nice Whole Foods was built on Clinton Avenue. In a couple years, what do you expect will happen? I'm just trying to get a grasp on what some of the expectations are.

"Shoprite had a frenzy because it was a new typical supermarket And people were/are sick of chopper and Hannaford. Its a place people can go to get grocery items every week that are affordable.. Very much unlike whole foods."

I'm sorry, but every Whole Foods I've been to has cheaper organic produce than the less-than-fresh conventional produce at Hannaford or Price Chopper. We pay outrageous food prices in the Captial District. CNY pays between $.50-$1.00 less per item.

"I'd be interested to know how many successful stores Christine Hmiel has opened. This will allow me to see who has more credibility on the subject."

I think Christine credibility lies in the fact that she is a Development Associate for Habitat for Humanity by day and Food Blog Contributor by night. Her two jobs are to know the ins and outs of urban development and food in the Capital District.

I had high hopes for the culture of our area. I gotta say, some of the commentators in this thread leave me feeling pretty discouraged.

Why didn't they just take the space across the street? That old Barnes and Noble is a nice space it just sits unused it was previously a Shoprite ... I don't understand why the old Borders got used before that.

to top it off the old Barnes and Noble has ample parking.

Actually, the old Barnes & Noble site wasn't Shop Rite.

Shop Rite was on the site where Bed, Bath & Beyond is now.

Barnes & Noble was built on the site of the old Herman's Sporting Goods (and there was a small record store attached).

OK, it's not a grocery. But does anybody remember (tearing up here) the Krispy Kreme? *Bad Location*.

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