Potrero stores bend under Whole Foods’ weight

The Potrero View

In the background, the Good Life Grocery on 20th St., one of the businesses affected by Whole Foods

The Potrero View, one of the city’s best neighborhood newspapers, reported in their January issue that the new Whole Foods store at 17th and Rhode Island is hurting neighborhood businesses. According to the story, restaurants, gorceries and delis saw declines when the giant supermarket opened in September. It goes on to say that some are seeing sales recover “now that ‘new and different’ is over.”

The Potero WF is part of a mixed housing and retail development that takes up an entire city block. It includes 100 spaces of free parking, a valuable commodity in the neighborhood, and offers the usual WF mix of groceries, deli foods and lifestyle crap like clothing, yoga mats and CDs. (I’ve seen this mix criticized, but in fact, Rainbow Co-op does the same, and in fact seems to have even more non-food items.)

In my personal opinion, the Potrero store compares unfavorably with the two other WFs in the city, being more poorly organized and somehow more brain-dead in its presentation of its deli foods. Just to take a tiny example, when it first opened, the selection of hot foods available for breakfast included French toast; but whereas the French toast at the 4th and Harrison store is well-prepared, the stuff at the Potrero store was inedible: limp, soggy and tasteless. Another example: at the 4th and Harrison store, when you buy something to eat in the store, the utensils are logically located between the checkout and the tables where you can sit and eat; at the Potrero store, you have to walk all the way past the tables, get your utensils, and then walk back and find a table. Small things, but telling ones.

You can read the January issue of the Potrero View as a PDF but be warned it’s 11.6 MB.

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1 Comment so far

  1. Tuffy (unregistered) on January 26th, 2008 @ 12:00 am

    I’ve lived here on Potrero Hill for only about 5 year now and in San Francisco for over 2 decades. I will admit I am not familiar with any of Mr. Pritchards writings nor do I regularly read The Potrero View but I am a rather big fan of Whole Foods Market and of the small local businesses in our City.
    I can tell you that it is a sad state of journalism if The Potrero View, is "in fact one of the city’s best neighborhood newspapers "as Mr. Pritchard seems to think it is.
    It is a nice little paper but like most of the media around us now days it seems to fall sadly into the small minded path of what appears to be15 minutes worth of investigation or opinion discovered over a cup of coffee.
    This article was written with the negative slant that the public has become so accustomed to. I’m honestly surprised that Ms. Fleisher, the articles author, didn’t throw in a comment about how Britney Spears shops at the Whole Foods Market in So. Cal. Clearly that too is worth a bash on the big bad corporation.

    Seriously people … soggy French toast and extra steps to get plastic utensils?
    How about keeping our eye on the ball here really, and just a quick side thought … why don’t you try bringing your own re-usable utensils next time so that you don’t need to walk so far to get the free biodegradable ones that are out of your way at Whole Foods?

    We are a overweight, over spending, overindulging, over-violence country with far larger issues than picking on a corporation or store who has set it’s sites on trying to make the world and it’s community at large a better place.

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