Whole Foods Market is welcoming shoppers to its first store in West Michigan with the impending opening of a location in the Grand Rapids market. The latest Whole Foods at 2897 Radcliff Avenue SE in the suburb of Kentwood will be unveiled Aug. 17.
The 45,400-square-foot store is in a bustling retail area, not far from a Trader Joe’s location. Under construction since late 2020, this is the eighth Whole Foods in Michigan, and the only one west of the state capital of Lansing.
The retailer promises plenty of local touches, from the décor and furnishings to the assortment of fresh and packaged products. Opening right during the region’s harvest season, this Whole Foods will be stocked with organic, conventional and Sourced for Good produce. Likewise, the butcher counter includes local meat, poultry and seafood selections, chosen by Whole Foods’ Michigan forager Mike Neill.
As with other Whole Foods sites, this store includes an expansive specialty department, with cheese cases overseen by trained cheesemongers, and a bakery with both made-in-store and locally-baked breads and other goods. The prepared foods section also reflects the retailer’s signature offerings, with self-service hot and cold food bars, pizza, sushi and other ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat products. Rounding out the store’s assortment and amenities are a full-service coffee bar and a health and beauty section.
The grocer is celebrating the grand opening by giving away Whole Foods Market Secret Saver cards to the first 500 shoppers and a tote bag to the first 2,000 customers, in addition to providing samples from vendor partners. The retailer is also launching community outreach efforts, donating to local food pantries, schools and non-profit organizations.
Food tech company GrubMarket has completed the acquisition of Albuquerque, N.M.- and El Paso, Texas-based Quality Fruit & Vegetable Co. (QF&V ), a fresh produce company that provides high-quality fruits and vegetables to the Southwest, sourced from the United States, Mexico, South America and other parts of the world. QF&V sells tens of millions of dollars worth of produce to hundreds of retail and foodservice customers across the United States and Mexico each year.
Founded more than 35 years ago, QF&V is still run by original owner Nick Delgado. Today, QF&V is a full-service food distribution and wholesale business with warehouse operations covering nearly 70,000 square feet, including state-of-the-art cold-storage and air-ripening facilities. QF&V has an extensive product catalog that includes specialty and seasonal items but is particularly well known for bananas, lettuce and tomatoes. In addition, QF&V has received top food safety certifications from Primus Labs and other organizations. The business will continue to be managed by its current leadership team.
QF&V can now use GrubMarket's proprietary WholesaleWare software suite, the company's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that provides wholesalers and distributors with financial management, online ordering features, inventory management, lot traceability, grower accounting, and automated routing and logistics tools.
”We are also excited about GrubMarket's robust technology platform and strong e-commerce network, which will allow us to tap into a best-in-class grower network across North and South America and become an even more reputable and reliable fresh food distributor for our customers across the U.S. and Mexico," said Delgado, who is also president of QF&V.
"Nick and the remarkable team at QF&V have built an exceptional company that has a well-rounded and diversified customer base and has achieved year-over-year growth in revenue and profits,” said Mike Xu, CEO of San Francisco-based GrubMarket. “This acquisition enables GrubMarket to further strengthen its presence in Texas and officially enter New Mexico, which is a key distribution region for food in the Southwest corridor of the United States."
Save Mart Partners With California Grower on Exclusive Fresh Corn
In celebration of the fresh corn season, The Save Mart Cos. is rolling out Five Star Super Sweet corn at its Save Mart and Lucky stores. The corn, grown exclusively for the retailer by Simoni and Massoni Farms in Brentwood, Calif., will be available throughout the month of July.
According to Save Mart, the Five Star Super Sweet corn is sweet and crisp, lending itself to easy preparation through grilling, boiling or microwaving, and as a great addition to salads, salsas and casseroles.
“We are thrilled to provide this delicious corn from Simoni and Massoni Farms that has a loyal following for its freshness and sweetness and is grown exclusively for our Save Mart and Lucky customers to enjoy right now,” said Donovan Ford, SVP, store operations at The Save Mart Cos.
Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, Calif., and the Sunnyside Farms dairy-processing plant in Turlock, Calif. Save Mart is No. 55 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Sherman Park Grocery Now Serving Milwaukee Neighborhood
The Sherman Park community in Milwaukee is getting its first full-service grocery store. Sherman Park Grocery at 4315 W Fond du Lac Avenue is now serving customers in that neighborhood on the west side of the city, providing more than 1,450 fresh products, pantry staples and prepared foods from a soul food deli.
“We do not need another food pantry. It’s like a Band-Aid for cancer. What we need is a thriving and sustaining grocery store offering the freshest groceries while teaching families how to make healthy, delicious meals while showcasing the skills of local culinary entrepreneurs,” the grocers explained on their website.
Sherman Park Grocery is the brainchild and passion project for founders Maurice "Moe" Wince and Yashica Spears, who worked with several partners over the past few years to make bring the project to life, including Milwaukee’s Fresh Food Access Fund, hydroponic produce supplier Fork Farms and community groups such as the Parklawn Assembly of God, P.R.I.S.M. Economic Corp., UpStart Kitchen, Clean Laundry, Sunshine Dance Studio, and CommunityIMPACT Center.
City alderman Khalif Rainey said in a statement that the store will help shore up food security in the community. "Having a business like Sherman Park Grocery that can offer the freshest produce and foods while teaching families how to make healthy meals and lifestyle choices will be a game-changer in an area that has long been a food desert," Rainey remarked.
The 2,100-square-foot store welcomed its first customers at a July 15 grand opening. Online ordering for in-store pickup and delivery is available. In another effort to foster community engagement, Sherman Park Grocery is offering a 20% discount to customers who volunteer for five hours a month.
Grocery Sales Up in June, But Inflation Making a Dent: Report
Hot on the heels of this week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from the Labor Department, another government agency reported on inflation-related market trends. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that U.S. retail and foodservice sales rose 1% in June to reach $680.6 billion and, within the overall market, grocery sales edged up 0.6% over May for an 8.3% year-over-year increase.
According to Census Bureau information, estimated monthly sales for grocery stores topped $70.3 billion last month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences but not for price changes. For the first six months of 2022, adjusted sales reached more than $409 billion, up 8.6% compared to the first six months of 2021.
Inflation throws a wrench into the sheer sales data. “While grocery spend was elevated, shoppers are bringing in fewer items to their home,” pointed out Chip West, a retail and consumer behavior expert at marketing solutions company Vericast.
Shoppers are adjusting in other ways, said West after reviewing the fresh statistics. “Due to escalating inflation, gas and housing prices, for value-seeking consumers ‘trading down’ is a noticeable theme this summer across most categories. Grocery store prices now are up over 10% versus last year and have pushed more shoppers to superstores and even dollar stores. Grocers that promote and try to attract consumers looking for value and deals will be in a better spot as the year goes on,” he remarked.
As with other locations in which the retailer has made this change, shoppers can buy paper grocery bags for five cents per bag, a fee that will be eventually donated to local food banks. Ultimately, Wegmans is working to shift shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. The company reported that in stores in which plastic bags are no longer available, 20% to 25% of shoppers’ groceries are bagged in paper while the remaining 75% to 80% are placed in reusable bags or not bagged at all.
The family-owned business has set a goal to eliminate single-use plastic bags across its operations by the end of 2022. In its announcement, Wegmans noted it will “work to ensure consistency in its approach across all markets, unless legislation dictates otherwise.”
In addition to bolstering eco-friendlier grocery bagging, Wegmans has pledged to reduce its in-store plastic packaging and single-use plastics by 10 million pounds 2024.