(Whole)Food for Thought

You can bet your aesthetically pleasing produce aisle that Whole Foods doesn’t just select any location for a store. Here's what it can mean for Arlington.

By now you know that Whole Foods is a-coming to town – which for some is even more exciting than anticipating Santa (of course then we can leave him organic gluten free cookies with milk from cows raised without hormones).

We are going to bypass the debate about whether people are happy or sad to see Johnnie’s Foodmaster on its way out, or whether Whole Foods is a blessing or a curse to town, and focus on what it means in terms of real estate.

Coincidentally, Business Insider just covered this topic: If A Starbucks Opens In A New Neighborhood, It's Time To Buy A Home There.

It states that towns – particularly those in metro areas – where Starbucks or Wholefoods come in and replace a lesser known or struggling entity are going to see an increase in home values.

Arlington is hardly "in transition, struggling, or neglected," however, getting the nod from Whole Foods is certainly an economic indicator of sorts that the town is movin’ on up.

Here is another article, Whole Foods is Coming? Time to Buy, which says that:

“…the Austin, Texas-based retailer has made a science of putting down roots in urban locations at what often seems to be just the right moment….— areas that other specialty grocers might have considered unworthy of goat cheese and ostrich eggs… were actually on the verge of a boom that, lo and behold, kicked into high gear as soon as Whole Foods moved in.”

You can bet your aesthetically pleasing produce aisle that Whole Foods doesn’t just throw darts at a map when selecting a location for a store. Teams of marketing experts analyze scores of data, comparing purchasing habits, population growth, and demographic make-up before making a decision.

And they are betting that Arlington is a town that will continue to grow and prosper.

The fact that Whole Foods selected an Arlington neighborhood is something of a celebrity endorsement – remember the Oprah-bump, where Oprah’s stamp of approval could turn a little-known product into an instant craze?

Likewise, Whole Foods setting up shop here makes Arlington even more of a draw for potential home buyers, and will in turn increase home values.

So whether you opt to shop there or not is a personal choice. But your home value will likely benefit from the Whole-Foods-Effect in the long-run.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

PG1960 November 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Tim: Dog whistle phrases "moonbats" and "Beverly Hills East" indicate more to this than a simple statement of increased property values.
John Waller (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Two comments have been deleted for violating Patch's Terms of Use: http://www.patch.com/terms
Elaine G November 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Maxine, Sorry for marking your post as inappropriate. It was accidental. I agree with your post.
Steve McKenna November 20, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Thanks, John. Much appreciated.
Maxine Sushelsky November 20, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Thank you, John. My faith in this publication is restored after reading Patch's Terms of Use.
Carol Corchado November 20, 2012 at 05:50 PM
What does illegals obtaining an education have to do with whole foods coming into Arlington?i guess if the debate over the leaf blowers was so big omg this will be huge
Sean Meagher November 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM
if you can afford to shop at Whole Foods you can afford to drive to Fresh Pond where there already is one #savejohnnys
inthegloaming November 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Sean: Johnny's doesn't WANT to be saved. The family is getting out of Dodge, and not even waiting until after Christmas to punt their employees. So not the "family" oriented place many think needs saving. If they were making enough of a profit because SO many people were shopping there, maybe they'd still be in the business. Maxine: nobody takes Tim seriously, except Tim. He's like the doddering uncle who drools and has Tourette's ("Moonbats! Moonbats!") that everyone puts up with at family holiday dinners. I like that my property value will go up, since we're debating moving to someplace with less rambunctious kids and thieving teens (who come up on the porch and rip open packages left by UPS), and no narrow stairways to maneuver in our dotage. OTOH: property TAXES will also go up. :-< Ah well, as they say, Ye Maun Tak' the sour wi' the sweet.
inthegloaming November 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Actually, if you want to be healthy AND cheap, I've read that Beans and Rice make a perfect protein when combined. Boring perhaps, but filling. Sure, can be gotten anywhere, but WFM probably has more choice in the cheaper-by-the-large-package for such things. And on a recent shop, WFM and StopShop were selling corn for the exact same price. A lot of the higher end cost items at WFM are luxuries/treats, not something I'd buy everyday. But I also can get a large quiche for $15, and with a salad I get FOUR dinners out of that. Cheap enough. And better than frozen from a regular grocery because it's fresh baked there. I've also had a delicious wings and salad dinner from the serve-yourself bar there that was quick and cheap. What I DO say when I'm in line at the checkout, so that everyone else can behind can here, is: "If you can afford to shop here, you can afford to DONATE a Feed Kids bag."
inthegloaming November 20, 2012 at 10:29 PM
lol! Thanks for that reference. I didn't know it, but now I do, and it's soooooo apropos!
Fred Gevalt November 20, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I talked with some of the Johnny's employees a week ago, and heard that most of them were to be hired - temporarily on assignment to other Whole Food stores until the renovation. Hope this turns out to be true, because the decency of the Johnny's crew was actually more important to me than the prices.....although they'll be tough to beat. Fred Gevalt
Ron November 21, 2012 at 01:54 AM
When has low property values being an issue in Arlington. I'm sure that there are a few Real Estate Agents who frequent this site that back that up. I don't remember hearing anyone purchasing a home in town for much less than asking price in the past two decades. If I recall Arlington has been named the best place to live for one reason or another over the past several years and it wasn't because of a grocery store. I won't be able to afford the most of the luxuries that WFM has to offer for my family on a regular basis and to be honest, I don't care to get the "free samples". That seems to be a big thing for many of the shoppers that I've seen when I have taken the loooong trip to Fresh Pond or even all the way to Woburn. Either way, if a WFM is going to drive up property values it will only mean higher property taxes. That is something that I could honestly do without. What I would be shocked to find out is if the Town was able to get WFM to sponsor something for the kids of the town to keep those rambunctious kids and thieving teens off the mean streets of Arlington during the day and off of inthegloaming's front porch.
Kathy Ann November 21, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Home prices are again increasing as we are now entering another round of the 'bubbles". This of course does not mean that home VALUES are increasing. I for one do not see a relation between people who buy coffee at Starbucks and shop at WholeFoods and their net financial worth. Most of the folks who drink coffee at Starbucks are living hand-to-mouth and are having major problems paying off their student loans. These are probably the same folks who'll be willing to pay $2 for a tiny red apple. The elderly with their little shopping carts will not buy their food at WholeFoods, but they don't have credit card deblt, no college loans to pay off and of course, they own their own homes, which are fully paid for. Let the sense-less drink Starbuck coffee and buy apples at Whole Food. But, I for one won't be paying off their college loans. And...I won't be going to Whole Foods.
Kathy Ann November 21, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Relative to your comments on home price, the condo units in my building have usually been on the market for more than 12 months before being sold for less than their asking price. By the way, this is now a high-end condo building.
Emmanuel D. November 21, 2012 at 09:30 AM
Whole Foods is a wonderful employer --- takes care of its employees very, very well in more ways than just salary. Great place for high school kids to work --- and learn!
Lynn November 21, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Whether or not you are happy about Whole Foods coming to town, the reality is (as stated in this article) long term it will have a positive impact on the attraction to the town as a whole, benefiting all who live here. I can see both sides, but think it is a good necessary step for the future of what Arlington has to offer. I will most definitely shop there (its much more convenient than Medford) but will continue to do my bulk shop in Burlington at Market Basket.
inthegloaming November 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM
"Most of the folks who drink coffee at Starbucks are living hand-to-mouth and are having major problems paying off their student loans. These are probably the same folks who'll be willing to pay $2 for a tiny red apple." Are you claiming that you've interviewed ALL these people drinking at Starbucks, so you know what their income is, what they're struggling to pay, and how much they'd squander on an apple? AND are you claiming that this profile group makes up the majority of the folks who drink coffee at there? Wow. (eyeroll) It's not just you, Kathy Ann. I'm amazed at the erroneous and unfounded presumptions made by people, that then form their opinions upon which they base their actions. But don't worry: I'll buy a few more lattes at SB and $2 "tiny" apples to make up for your absence at WFM, just so they won't go under due to your disapproval. .
inthegloaming November 21, 2012 at 09:09 PM
heh, maybe if they give them jobs stacking groceries they'll be too exhausted to rambunc or climb the many stairs to my porch! I'll put in a good word for them with the HR dept at WFM!
Misty November 21, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Mr. McKenna's article is food for thought : "..., Whole Foods setting up shop here makes Arlington even more of a draw for potential home buyers, and will in turn increase home values." Do you really believe buyers want a Whole Foods in their town when shopping for a new home? Isn't a good school system and affordable taxes more of a draw? From what it appears, Medford's home values actually DECREASED after a Whole Foods opened there. Where is the "oprah-bump" there? I would have to agree with Ron that there are many other reasons Arlington's property values might increase but to correlate them to the opening of Whole Foods in place of Johnnie's Foodmaster is misleading. What do the real estate bloggers think?
Kathy Ann November 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Someone has Arlington confused with Lexington and Weston. I can remember when A&P was located just a few blocks from my house. Why wouldn't an A&P increase house prices in Arlington? By the way, what else does Arlington have to offer to folks, besides Stop and Shop and the new Whole Foods? Please don't tell me it's the new Cambridge... Bascially, Arlington is a blue collar town with blue collar values. Do you remember the French restaurant that couldn't survive at the Center? By the way, the French place was about 10000 times better than any of the Asian shops that have sprung up all over Arlington. That tells you something about the tastes of Arlington, doesn't it? Did the prostitutes working out of little shops in Arlington increase property values in the Town? Maybe we need a little Zoomba shop to attract more folks to Arlington. They could Zomba and also buy apples at Whole Food.
Kathy Ann November 22, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I think we need a way to correct spelling after a post has been submitted.
inthegloaming November 23, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Why is everyone surprised that "their" Arlington is changing? Arlington is located between Cambridge and Lexington! What else could happen eventually? The old residents are dying off or moving to assisted living. People who can't afford Lexington, and find Cambridge too cluttered, will of course choose Arlington. C'est la vie. If you don't adapt, you become extinct.
MB November 23, 2012 at 06:34 AM
It's great if you can afford it, but I can't. WAY overpriced. I'll be going to Johnnie's in Somerville.
Kay November 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Where are the 99% supposed to shop now? I used to see elderly people with their grocery carts in Johnnies. I guess now they will have to shop at Stop & Shop which is overpriced. Or, go to Trader Joe's. Or take public transportation to Market Basket schleping groceries home. Some fun. I think is really sad that Johnnie's closed. It was family run business that most people could shop at -- because the prices were reasonable. I guess everyone has their price. The former owners are probably counting their cash, smiling all the way to the bank. The building that housed Johnnie's will remain vacant until next fall. In the meantime, 99% of us get the shaft.
Tim November 23, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Bridget BISHOP is the BOSS'S BOSS ... Question do you get frequent flyer miles at Lahey for stomach pumping ?? It's semi season after all ....
inthegloaming November 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM
unfortunately, not always. Not enough.
inthegloaming November 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM
All you people so worried about "where will the elderly shop" should get in your cars and DRIVE THEM somewhere they can afford. You only have to do it once every week or so, maybe less. Make it an outting. Consider it your compassionate, neighborly, civic duty. (And yes, I do drive my elderly neighbors to shop, so I can put my money where my mouth is. We also shovel their walks in winter.)
Tim November 24, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Bridget shouldn't. Be telling people that they are going to be extinct , that's one threat you don't want to make ... I hear they are having a special on stomach pumping this weekend ...
Tim November 24, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Again Bridget if I were you I would watch the threats ....
Dave July 16, 2013 at 03:34 PM
They pick locations based on demographics, for which Arlington has pretty strong ones. They also look at trends such as age of people moving into areas, for which Arlington is also pretty strong (25-40 year old) These are typically areas that have increasing property values. They don't necessarily drive the prices. Also value increases are not what increases your taxes, bloated government always wanting to increase tax revenue to spend is what drives taxes. value decreases can happen and taxes will still go up.


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