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The Detroit Free Press has an interview with Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, in which he says that the retailer's new urban store there is "in a far better place than I thought we would be. It’s far above our modest projections. And more importantly, I told the team that a year down the road what I want to know is are we still serving the entire community. We came here to serve the whole community and to try to make a contribution. I feel like we’re doing that so far. We’ve just added another 30 jobs, so it’s 130 jobs now. We started with 100 jobs. My goal here is much broader than that. I want to dive into these questions of accessibility and affordability. We’re trying to see what works and how we can help. Our (food stamp customers) are much higher here, three to four times higher than the rest of the region. I’m glad about it. It makes me happy that we’re able to stretch a bit."

And, he says, Whole Foods' success should have a broader impact: "I think the dollar invested in this will create a return very quickly in terms of the economy overall. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, who has studied economies and what produces momentum in the economy, says the food sector is one of the most productive elements of an economy."
KC's View:
I don't doubt Whole Foods' sincerity here, but it will be interesting to see if it can maintain a long-term commitment to strategies that can create a sustainable business model for urban markets like Detroit.