I lived in San Francisco’s Haight district for 11 years before I moved to Boulder in 2007 and seeing the new Whole Foods Market on Google Street View a few blocks from my old flat last week came as a shock. I knew it had happened but I still winced at that jolt of gentrification.
So it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around this Crain’s Chicago Business report about Whole Foods as ripple-effect urban redevelopment tool on the city’s southwest side. Can a notoriously upscale market be a good fit and a good neighbor in a struggling neighborhood?
It sounds like it can. The Haight was far from a food desert—and trendy boutiques had run up the rents long before Whole Foods dropped in—but Chicago’s Englewood district could use the help. As the Crain’s report explains, shopping at Whole Foods can even be cheaper than the corner stores in many urban neighborhoods, and any business is good business in a depressed area.
I find myself wishing Whole Foods well on this one.
But I still kinda’ miss the dingy Cala Foods at Haight and Stanyan.