Today The News Tribune reported that Whole Foods is coming to Pierce County — University Place in particular, and is projected to open March 2015.

My first reaction to this news was, “Heck yes! Finally. I never thought this would happen!” Visions of organic berries and free-range chickens danced in my head.

During the time I was in graduate school in Seattle, I frequented Whole Foods on a weekly basis. It’s a playground for food lovers, with products you’ve never heard of and an endless selection of options. I like options.

I also like a good deli. The prepared foods deli area at Whole Foods is second to none. The variety, quality and flavor of the various “bars”, be it sandwich, sushi or otherwise, salads, meats, cheeses, soups…is excellent. It makes for a quick and easy lunch, something that I’m constantly in search for.

A Whole Foods shopping trip is an experience. From presentation to customer service, all seems to be top-notch and even maybe even makes grocery shopping a little fun. Sure, I’m Whole Foods’ target demographic. I fit the profile, of a 30-something, female, educated, health-conscious professional. It’s not a shocker that I’ve shopped there and will probably continue to do so, especially if it’s close by.

Honestly, I never thought we’d get a Whole Foods in the Tacoma area. The News Tribune article sites that Whole Foods weighed their decision carefully to open up shop in University Place. I imagine they did. It’s quite a decision, since this would be the only store south of Seattle until Portland.

Initially, I’m excited to be getting a Whole Foods in our area. That said, there are a lot of thoughts and concerns running through my mind. Thinking about all of the things I’ve listed that I love about Whole Foods: Options, excellent prepared foods and an enjoyable experience, I wonder. Don’t we already have all of those things in Tacoma and Pierce County?

If I’m looking for fresh produce, I either hit the farmers markets, various produce stands in the area, Tacoma Boys, Harbor Greens or Metropolitan Market, to name a few of my favorites. For organic and free-range meats, there are butcher shops or the previously mentioned groceries. For natural foods, gluten free and allergen-free products, I hit Marlene’s, Tacoma Food Co-Op or GF Joe’s. A great deli can be found at Met Market, Harbor Greens or Stadium Thriftway.

How will these stores and markets be affected with a Whole Foods in town?

I’m not sure how to answer that.

One of Whole Foods’ brand promises is that they source locally, though I don’t exactly know how hyper-local (i.e. to this county) that gets.

Then there’s the unofficial nickname of Whole Foods, “Whole Paycheck”. It’s not cheap to shop at Whole Foods. Of course, you’re paying a premium for all those prepared foods, organic, non-GMO items. I understand that it’s not a realistic place for every individual or family to shop. There’s no way I could do all my grocery shopping there…it would deplete most of our monthly grocery budget in one shopping trip.

These are just some of the things I’m thinking about with this news. On one hand, I’m glad to hear it. I welcome a one-stop shop for all my specialty and organic foods. On the other hand, I’m not so sure it’s a good thing for our community or for my wallet.

What are your thoughts on Whole Foods coming to Pierce County?

Leave a Reply

  1. annie armstrong

    come to olympia/lacey/tumwater area !!! you would make so much money here Whole Foods
    please come. we need you.

  2. Lynne

    I live in South Hill, I would love to have Whole Foods out my way, I liove your store..

  3. Linda

    I would be over the moon to see Whole Foods in Thurston County; Lacey or Olympia. For all of you Pierce County complainers….AT LEAST you are getting a W F. Be happy!

  4. betty fry

    Is whole foods still opening a store in the “U” district?

    1. adrienne Listing Owner

      It’s opening in University Place, not the U District.

  5. betty

    Is whole foods still opening in the “U” district?

  6. Reba

    Any word if WF will still open in March 2015? I live in Puyallup, but used to live in Sammamish and I truly miss WF.

  7. moirraine

    Putting it in the worst accdssi me place in Pierce county should tell all residents that they were dissed BIG TIME

  8. Renee

    I prefer PCC would have expanded down here…though they are superior to Marlene’s, which would be sad to go out of business…yet, Marlene’s CAN come up to the standards of PCC by offering more goods baked on site, more freshly prepared hot foods, etc.

    University Place seems a strange choice for a Whole Foods. I am sure they chose the location due to the success of Trader Joes, but really, we all only go to Trader Joes in UP because we don’t want to go to the Federal Way one….there should be a TJ’s in north Tacoma (not too close to downtown where shoplifters abide) When given the option between TJ’s and Whole Foods, I will choose TJ’s. They have way more unique products at better prices. Whole Foods is overly priced.

  9. sherry

    very happy to see them come down to pierce county, they have great buys on fish check out their truck load sales ,can’t wait

  10. corey

    Ever heard of PCC? Thousands times better than any choice in the northwest. So wish they would at least go into Federal Way or anywhere Pierce County. If your in the Seattle area you owe it to yourself to check out a PCC market. Google and find one! Fremont/Redmond/Issaquah are the best locations!

    1. Renee

      I adore PCC. Awesome freshly baked breads/treats, fresh hot foods, etc., and great choices in natural grocery products. They would put Marlene’s out of business if they came down to Tacoma.

  11. Jo Torres

    I buy items at Marlene’s regularly, and when in Seattle or Bellevue, I go to Whole Foods. I have compared prices for similar items, especially the organic and non-GMO items. Whole Foods beats Marlene’s by a mile, and you can’t even compare the range of products available at Whole Foods over Marlene’s. It would be good for Marlene’s to have some competition and bring down the outrageous prices on their items. I never buy from Marlene’s what I can get at Fred Meyers, and I never buy produce there as it is through the roof. I do Farmers Markets when I can, but for many of us, we have to balance good food with cost. Whole Foods fits that balance. (I live out in Graham, so travel to any of these is part of the equation.)

    1. Angie

      I find Whole Foods to be cheaper than Harbor Greens, so personally, I am happy about this. And in order to save money today, I am drivingn 45 minutes to Bellevue to hit up Whole Foods for their $1.99 whole chicken sale.

      So my response, I am excited for Whole Foods to open so I can finally save some money!!

  12. James

    Whole foods is a great addition to Tacoma though Universety place is a bit of an odd choice. Other then thinking they are moving in a proven area with Trader Joes.(I would have chosen the mall area or just off I5 like the Winco location.) My experiance with Whole foods is that it is worth driving to over Trader Joes. Though I do hit Trader Joes about twice a year for the 3-5 products I buy from there. I think that I would visit Whole foods way more often.( I cant imagine I would ever visit Trader Joes again which is a sad reality.) The local farmers makets I might still visit because of distance and because of the relaxing/fun experiance. I dont however think the local farmers would suffer like Trader Joes will. Im guessing the local farmers will be selling to Whole foods though taking a bit of a cut! They will no longer have to take the time and effort to sell thier produce. Not to mention what they now have to throw away compared to a deal with Whole foods. Only the farmers will be able to truly say that Whole foods benifits them more or less.
    Just never really know with something like this as the long term effects may differ from the short. I thought for sure that Fred Meyer down the street would go out of business when WInco opened up. Somehow Winco is packed 24/7 and Fred Meyer also seems busier then ever. Not sure how that happened. Except that shoppers will travel to Winco as they would with Whole Foods.(Fredmeyer I dont quite get except that it sells other stuff and it has regulars that just like it there)
    Though Winco is easy to get to from the freeway. Whole foods will be another 15-20 mintues once you get off the freeway so Im still stumped on the location. Being a whole foods type of neigborhood I get as Winco is sort of ghetto and happens to be in a ghetto neighborhood. But UP is small and a pain to get to. hmmmmmm

  13. Deb Richards

    I was at a community meeting last night where the main speaker was our City Manager, TC Broadnax. One thing he pointed out that I like and agree with is that Tacoma is a home grown type of town with very few national chains. Having been an independent restaurant owner [in AZ] since 1982 I tend more towards supporting other independent businesses. I will, no doubt, shop at Whole Foods when need be but my first choice will always be local and/or independent.

  14. Linda I

    They import TONS of food from China. Its labelled “Organic” but who the heck really knows? Whole Foods doesn’t. They have no controls, they just “trust” their suppliers. I sure don’t. Plus the founder and majority owner is a union busting cretin who threatened to make all full time employees move to part time when the Affordable Care Act was passed. I quit shopping there years ago when I lived in Seattle. Support your LOCAL businesses.

    1. chris

      You need to check your sources. Pretty much all of your statements are incorrect. There have 3rd. party certification & beyond on og foods & not 1 team member has or will be moved to part time. Wfm has the highest full time to part time ratio of emplyees in the industry.

    2. Renee

      The “affordable” care act is designed to stick it to businesses and businesses that cannot afford to pay even more toward medical coverage without sacrificing the standards of their goods and services to their customers will do what they have to do. Employees will sadly go elsewhere. Just wait until the $15 minimum wage is pushed on us by city counsel….and they have to let all kinds of people go.

  15. Sarah

    Speaking as someone who does NOT live in Tacoma (Parkland here), I don’t think Whole Foods will harm any of the other businesses mentioned. The only direct competition will be Trader Joes, due to the proximity of location. As other comments have already noted, there are enough options around the region that people don’t need to (and won’t) go out of their way for something new. I think this is a great addition to the local offerings.

  16. Stephen Battey

    I personally welcome any additional jobs and business to the area, and the whole foods deli is fantastic and it will make it easier for me to find some things I have difficulty finding elsewhere. Who knows, maybe the competition will help drive competitors prices down on organic, non-GMO products. I’d love to pay less.

    1. adrienne Listing Owner

      Stephen, that’s a great point about the jobs it’ll bring. I hadn’t initially thought of that. Potentially hundreds of jobs added to our community is indeed a good thing.

  17. talus

    I’d like to see Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods open a Tacoma location, not in the ‘burbs. But I suppose we have the Tacoma Food Co-op, which has more character anyway!

    1. North End Tacoma is an oxymoron

      Tacoma is so small, that calling University Place or even Lakewood the burbs is a little centrist in your thinking. Tacoma is not the center of the south sound universe. The north end Tacoma population has had trouble with their place in society for decades and they have a fallible mind set on their societal ranking . I now live in UP and one block from the new Whole Foods, but I grew up in Dash Point and went to Stadium. We were looked upon as the rich point people. To leave their honored North End and go to the burbs, such as University Place, is not like trekking to South Centre Mall, but a mere two mile or so quick jaunt. I’d say that the N. Enders in Tacoma should get out more often.

  18. LTrip

    University Place, really? As the blog mentions, Whole Foods would be a great lunch spot for professionals, but how many professionals work in UP? I rarely make the trek from the north end to Trader Joes and I will probably not make the trek to Whole Foods either.