Downtown Feels Shunned by Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s

Did someone forget where they came from?
Did someone forget where they came from? Photo: Allan Ferguson via Flickr

As part of Downtown’s boom in the last few years, a flood of big box grocers have targeted the neighborhood for expansion, among them Fresh & Easy, Smart & Final, Wal-Mart, and Ralph’s. But two of the most desired names in grocery shopping, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, have continued to turn their backs on the area, despite a rare visit from Whole Foods’ own CEO to scout a building now occupied by Smart & Final when he rejected it. Locally-spawned outfit Trader Joe’s tells L.A. Downtown News that the area is “not in our two-year-plan,” much to the dismay and frustration of residents and developers. Writer Ryan Vaillancourt speculates that Downtown’s high percentage of low and fixed incomes and dwindling nighttime populations could be partially to blame for the diss, if not poor parking and difficulty with floor plans and loading in the neighborhood’s time-worn buildings. Meanwhile, one supermarket site consultant backs the in-depth research typically conducted by the elusive stores, telling the blog, “If they say they don’t want to go, they have good reason.”

Specialty Grocers Eyeing, but Still Not Buying, Downtown [LA Downtown News]