Many of you have clamored for a Whole Foods in Roanoke.
While I can’t report that the organic food store is coming to Roanoke, what I do want to tell you is that the company earlier this year announced plans to open 1,000 new stores.
From Whole Foods’ earning statement: “Over the long term, the Company considers 1,000 stores to be a reasonable indication of its market opportunity in the United States as the Whole Foods Market brand continues to strengthen, consumer demand for natural and organic products continues to increase, and the Company’s flexibility on new store size opens up additional market opportunities.”
Whole Foods currently has 317 stores, the closest to Roanoke being in Winston-Salem, N.C. and Charlottesville.
There is no indication of what kind of time frame the company has in mind, but as the trade publication Supermarket News points out, it would take 23 years for Whole Foods to reach its 1,000 store goal at its current expansion rate.
Supermarket News also reports that many of the stores in the expansion plan would be in secondary markets. Roanoke is considered to be a tertiary market.
Earlier this month I called and emailed a Whole Foods spokeswoman about the possibility of a Whole Foods opening in Roanoke. I haven’t received a response.
The company’s financials are strong. In the quarter that ended Jan. 15, Whole Foods reported a profit of $118.3 million, up 33 percent, from $88.7 million the same quarter the previous year. Comparable store sales rose 8.7 percent.
Do you think Roanoke has what it takes to lure Whole Foods?