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

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.

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