KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — After years of anticipation, Whole Foods Market lovers in West Michigan are finally getting their wish: a store in the Grand Rapids area.
A Whole Foods Market spokesperson confirms the company is developing a store in the area, but would not disclose any other details.
However, Kent County records show that Whole Foods Market has leased a space inside the Radcliff Plaza shopping center, located along 28th Street SE at Radcliff Avenue SE in Kentwood, next to Guitar Center.
“Sitting across from Woodland Mall and being on one of the busiest roads and intersections in Kent County, I think that’s a huge, that’s a huge perk,” said Signature Associates Vice President Joe Rizqallah, who handled the listing and deal.
“I’m not a surgeon here, I’m not saving lives. I’m just filling a vacant space, but I get to have fun in the process and a lot of excitement around it,” he told News 8 in an exclusive interview.
Rizqallah said he’s been working on luring Whole Foods to the area for over three years.
“It’s definitely well worth it,” he said. “It’s something nice to give to the community that you live in and you love so much. And I know there’s a lot of people that have been wanting this, so it’s kind of nice to say, ‘Hey, we got to bring that here for the community.’”
Whole Foods agreed to the 20-year lease agreement in July and signed it a month later, county records show. After the initial lease is up, Whole Foods may extend the agreement up to 35 years in five-year increments, documents state.
As part of the deal, the building owner is barred from developing the space for a variety of other businesses, including salons, specialty food stores, coffee bars, smoothie bars and businesses that sell ready-made meals.
The blueprint included in county documents indicates plans to add a sidewalk, ramp, exterior wall and foundation to the building. Whole Foods also plans to create short term and “Green Mission” parking spots closest to the market.
Michigan is already home to seven Whole Foods Market stores, but the closest one to Grand Rapids is about 75 miles away in East Lansing. The other stores are located in Ann Arbor, West Bloomfield, Rochester Hills, Birmingham and Detroit.
“It’s going to be a beautiful store. It’s going to be a real anchor to the community. And of course with them being there, you’re going to have a whole plethora of new retailers that want to follow and join the community and I think also be a first-timer to Grand Rapids,” Rizqallah said.
In 2017, Amazon announced it was purchasing Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Since then, the behemoth online retailer has rolled out Whole Foods Market grocery delivery service to Prime customers living near Whole Foods stores.