KENTWOOD, Mich. — Crowds were lined up as early as 6 a.m. for the 9 a.m. grand opening of West Michigan's first Whole Foods.
The grocery store, located at 2897 Radcliff Avenue SE, has more than 1,000 locally-sourced products.
At the opening, store officials gave away a refrigerated van to a nearby nonprofit fighting food insecurity, the Green Apple Pantry.
"They started talking with us a few months ago, and then asked us what a difference the van would make for us. And we said, it's a game changer," said Nancy Cromley, Green Apple's executive director. "And all of a sudden it became a reality and we just couldn't believe that it was happening."
The store was originally announced in 2020 and was celebrated by Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley.
"It's wonderful to have a company like Whole Foods come into West Michigan, especially Kentwood," said Kepley in 2021, "We’re competitive. We want those stand-alone companies coming to Kentwood because it brings in customers."
When Kepley entered office in 2013, he had a list of five businesses he wanted to attract to Kentwood. He called it his "Mayor Kepley's Fun Five List."
With the opening of Whole Foods Market in August, Kepley will have completed his list.
The other businesses on the list were Chick-Fil-A, Dave and Busters, Cheesecake Factory, and Trader Joe's. All of those are now open for business on 28th Street near the East Beltline.
Whole Foods Market already has seven locations in Michigan with four in the Detroit area, two in Ann Arbor and one in East Lansing. The latest location in the Grand Rapids area will make eight locations in the state.
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