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Whole Foods set to open, as upscale grocery trend continues in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Upscale grocery stores have begun popping up across the Port City. The newest is the Whole Foods on Oleander Drive, which is scheduled to open later this month. Representatives from their competition say they welcome the challenge.

"For us it's competition, but at the same time competition is good," Carolina Farmin' spokeswoman Susan Johnson. "We're very happy that the community has been really receptive to new options in the area."

With Whole Foods just a few weeks away from opening, other area grocery stores say they are going to have to step up their game. The new Whole Foods next to Independence Mall is looking forward to their big day.

"We are officially opening our doors May 23," Whole Foods Marketing Team Leader Erin McNally said. "We are thrilled to make that announcement. We look forward to being the grocery store of choice for the Wilmington community to find the highest quality natural and organic products."

With the opening of Whole Foods and the possibility of a Trader Joe's going at College and Oleander, that begs the question if there is a need for this many upscale grocery stores here in Wilmington. The people at Carolina Farmin' believe each store will serve to a different demographic.

"There is going to be an enthusiasm toward someone new coming in, but when everything shakes out, we really appeal to a certain crowd," Johnson said. "Our demographic tends to be people who are looking for things fresh off the farm that are made by people here in town."

For now, stores like Carolina Farmin' are seeing their fair share of business, but with the finishing touches being applied to whole foods, there is about to be more options here in the Port City.

Fresh Market helped kick off the upscale grocery trend in Wilmington when it opened in Mayfaire five years ago.

Trader Joe's submitted plans last winter to build at College and Oleander. on Oleander Drive next to Independence Mall. Whole Foods is a natural and organic food store.

Those involved in getting the store ready are excited about the grand opening.

"You can find us, Whole Foods Market Wilmington, on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with all the activities, and all of our grand opening week festivities that we'll be announcing later this week," Marketing Team Leader Eric McNally said.

For the next two weeks, the closest Whole Foods is in Raleigh. But as construction wraps up, and final touches are almost finished, doors are set to open May 23.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Never heard of Whole Foods

Never heard of Whole Foods or Trader Joe's and i,m 77, so i guess i can continue to survive without them.

It's about REAL food

Whole Foods is not "upscale"...it's a grocer that carries REAL food unlike most of the other grocery store chains. Please people...educate yourself on your food. If you are eating processed foods (boxed or frozen) STOP!! You are eating "fake food". Fake food can keep for months and sometimes years...but real food will quickly spoil. Your body NEEDS you to eat real food. Even if you don't eat organic...at least eat real food. Your body will thank you.

Appreciate your enthusiasm but ...

but you're a little off the mark. Fresh food will probably give you greater nutritional value but it's not the only game in town. Today, when we use the term processed, we're generally referring to foods with additives. Many frozen foods have none and are almost as fresh; they just keep longer. Fresh foods are also sometimes just too pricey for a budget-challenged houshold.

Not always true: "Fake food can keep for months and sometimes years...but real food will quickly spoil" A "real food" known to last for over 2000 years without preservatives is honey.

Love your enthusiasm for the "slow food" movement though. You certainly will do less harm to both yourself and the planet by supporting it.

Frozen food can mean many

Frozen food can mean many things from raw spinach to pizza and other chemical ladened processed food.

Question ???

Where does Whole Food get their "natural and organic" food from ?
If it comes from other countries they don't have the FDA, so who inspects the growing and shipping of the food?

So was this a serious

So was this a serious question or dis-information from a competitor?

Most organic food is USDA

Most organic food is USDA certified organic. It's a very strict certification and even farms in other countries are subject to the USDA inspections and rules in order to wear the certified organic seal on their foods. Major brands are selling organic food these days, it's not just in hole in the wall health food stores any more. Organic food has nothing to do with being "new and improved" or some sort of upscale way to eat. It has everything to do with eating the way we are supposed to and the way our grandmas probably did. Whole Foods has lots of good stuff and I can't wait to go!

Why are people so fascinated by a couple of stores?

When this store and Trader Joe's announced they were coming to Wilmington, the excitement I saw online and elsewhere, you'd have thought it was Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and all of us had golden tickets. I've been in both - they're fine stores they didn't change my life. I don't get the excitement. Is this one of those things I won't get if I don't wear skinny jeans and listen to bands you've never heard of?

Whole Foods & Trader Joe's

Most major cities have numerous grocery chains from which to choose. One of the problems of Wilmington is that it is not a world-class city when it comes to shopping. Where is Nordstrom? Macys? Lord & Taylor? Saks 5th Ave.? Nowhere to be found. With Whole Foods and Trader Joe's we are moving UP in the world -- perhaps we will be able to find ingredients for our gourmet recipes, things that simply can't be found at Harris Teeter or Lowe's and certainly not at Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly. I for one am excited about the prospect of the variety of items to be found at Whole Foods and can't wait for it to open. Now bring on Wegman's!!

Oh No!

Oh, no! Progress, say it isn't so!