Whole Foods is Opening a Chain of Cheaper Stores. Will You Shop There?

365 by whole foods
Tyler Cipriani under Creative Commons

Dear Regular People: Whole Foods has heard your snarky comments and biting nicknames. Its feelings are hurt, and it wants to win you back.

Next week, the organic food retailer will open a smaller store that specializes in cheaper, private-label groceries.

It’s called 365 by Whole Foods Market — you might recognize the name from Whole Foods’ existing label of affordable organic foods.

With the growing ubiquity of organic and natural foods in conventional stores, the pioneering grocer has seen falling sales for three straight quarters, reports Bloomberg. The new stores are an attempt to woo shoppers who have learned to dismiss Whole Foods as overpriced and overvalued.

“We want it to appeal to a wider audience,” Jeff Turnas, the company veteran who’s running 365, told Bloomberg. “This model allows us to compete with everybody in the market.”

The first store will open in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood on May 25.

The company has also signed 19 leases for new stores around the country, including near Portland, Seattle, Houston and Cincinnati. Expect to see their doors open in the next few months.

If you don’t see a 365 location opening in your area, try these 23 money-saving secrets to save money at your local Whole Foods.

Or try these 22 ways to save money on groceries and still eat well — no matter where you shop.

Will You Shop at a Cheaper Whole Foods?

Unsurprisingly, critics think Whole Foods is grasping at straws.

Many shoppers have already figured out how to circumvent the expensive brand and eat healthy on a budget. The company expects 365 to appeal to younger shoppers, who are ostensibly still making up their minds about where to shop.

But can Whole Foods shed the cloud of elitism its brand has accumulated over the years?

“We’re all foodies, and 365 is about food,” said Turnas. “Yes, it’s our value format, and we’re going to compete on price. But we’re going to compete while keeping Whole Foods quality.”

Can they do both?

Your Turn: Will you shop at a cheaper Whole Foods store?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

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