Whole Foods Opens in Newark
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Whole Foods opened the doors of their 17th New Jersey store in Newark on March 1st. The 29 thousand square foot store is located in the historic Hahne and Company Building on Broad Street. The opening of this store is important to the City of Newark for several reasons. The city has long been considered a food desert, or a place with little to no access to healthy foods. Second, because the Whole Foods brand has a particular association, it's a a sign of how far the city has come since the late 1970's. Finally, it creates much needed jobs and has the potential to continue to do so.
Whole Foods is the second, large grocery store open in the Brick City. Many companies either, did not want to do business in what is still one of New Jersey's more dangerous cities, or had to close their doors. This is what created the "food desert" status. A resident we spoke with, Hashanah Smith, said of her neighborhood; "on every corner there's a liquor store, there's a candy store, but you're lucky if you find a banana in there." That's the need Whole Foods set out to fill.
Michael Sinatra, Spokesperson for Whole Foods Markets, Northeast Region, told us that the store spent three years speaking with residents of Newark to find out exactly what it was they wanted. He says the community demanded fresh, healthy foods, things they could use in family recipes, at an affordable price. Sinatra went on to say that on top of featuring local Newark and surrounding area vendors, they worked with all of their vendors to bring the prices down in the Newark store, as compared to their other markets. The store also accepts SNAP benefits and other food assistance programs. As Sinatra explained, "Good food is something that's for everyone. It's not just for a specific group or sect of people; or an income level. Fresh healthy food should be accessible to all, and that's what we really wanted to bring to this city."
Any grocery store could have filled the need for access to fresh food; but the fact that there is now a Whole Foods in Newark brings an added level of pride. Dominique, another city resident, explained why. "Putting this here, in the center of Newark, that says a lot about where we're going, what we're building, how we're growing." Senator Cory Booker expanded on that by saying "This brand definitely shows something. People associate it often with thriving communities, strong communities, things that I know are the truth of Newark. And so for people to see this here, that's number one. That's great. It's really a sign that the city continues to rise."
Finally, the store has the added bonus of contributing economically to the community. With the opening came 145 jobs, and as Sinatra said, "If people keep shopping here, we'll have to hire more people!" Another need that can be filled for the residents of Newark. Sinatra says the company is proud to now call the Brick City home and hopes to do so for years to come.
Whole Foods Newark Market
633 Broad St.
Open 7 days a week 7a-8p
parking deck below the store, entrance on New St.
*Disclaimer, Whole Foods is an occasional sponsor of Cara's Cucina.