The local store – which has owned the natural foods market in Fayetteville for decades – has apparently been fielding questions since a Flyer story on Monday revealed that an application had been filed with the city for a grocery store and retail center on behalf of a company known for developing Whole Foods stores.
While the application doesn’t name any specific planned tenants, preliminary drawings clearly show a Whole Foods Market logo on the front facade of a building to be constructed at 3535 N. College Avenue.
Ozark Natural Foods officials said they welcome the competition.
“We are excited to have another natural and organic food store here in Fayetteville, said ONF Marketing Director Alexa McGriff, in a statement released on Tuesday. “The more access that people have to healthy foods in our city, the better it is for our community.”
McGriff said while the two companies are competing in nature, she believes ONF offers a different business model and an extra value to the community in being a locally-owned co-op.
“We encourage people to check Whole Foods Market out when they move to town, and to visit us as well to see and learn the differences between us, along with what we have in common,” she said.
The full statement is included below:
Since the release of plans and drawings for a new Whole Foods Market to be opened on College Avenue in Fayetteville, we’ve had many people contact us with questions about our worries and fears, along with what our plans are to combat the retail giant.
The answer is simple. We are excited to have another natural and organic food store here in Fayetteville. The more access that people have to healthy foods in our city, the better it is for our community. Our mission is that we are “dedicated to healthful living and sustainability by providing our owners and the Northwest Arkansas community with natural and organic products and related services”. This holds true – we plan to continue to provide natural and organic products to the community of Fayetteville. Now, we know that it is possible for even more people to be provided access to healthy foods, and to be made aware of organics. Whole Foods Market is a national retailer, meaning their brand recognition is strong. More people in Northwest Arkansas will start to think about eating healthy simply because Whole Foods moves here.
With any business, competition is realistic. We’ve had several similar businesses move into the Northwest Arkansas community in the past few years and it was inevitable that Whole Foods Market would follow suit. Competition for any business is healthy. We also believe that because we are a co-op, we offer a different business model and an extra value – that of the community actually owning our business. We are locally owned and put back as much as possible into the local economy. In 2013 alone, we gave back over $3,941,850 to the local community.
We encourage people to check Whole Foods Market out when they move to town, and to visit us as well to see and learn the differences between us, along with what we have in common. Most importantly, we hope that more people have the opportunity to purchase healthy foods, and that Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas became a healthier community because of places like Whole Foods Market and Ozark Natural Foods.
Ozark Natural Foods is a locally owned consumer cooperative dedicated to healthful living and sustainability, located at 1554 N. College Ave., in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center, in Fayetteville.
City planners are scheduled to review preliminary plans for the new store during a Technical Plat Review meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.