Whole Foods, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s – Oh No!

If you’ve been to Rose and Lincoln lately, you may have noticed that Big Lots is gone. That’s because Whole Foods is moving in to their store, and the adjoining one now occupied by CVS drug store. CVS will be moving to the old shoe store, next door, but Big Lots is gone. The nearest Big Lots is in Culver City at 5587 Sepulveda Blvd.

Some Venetians will be very happy to have a Whole Foods in Venice, while others will find it unaffordable (hence the nickname, Whole Paycheck). Likewise, for Trader Joe’s which is rumored to finally be coming to Venice, at the site of the old Wells Fargo bank on Washington Blvd. Some will undoubtably call it the Marina (including TJ), but it’s really Venice.

Less welcome will be the first Starbucks in the heart of Venice. It’s reported to be a tenant in the building now under construction at Abbot Kinney Blvd. and Venice Blvd., an area already well served by coffee establishments.

All three new arrivals certainly qualify as chain stores, a development that many Venetians have been trying to prevent. Whole Foods had 186 stores in 2006 and 88 more (including Venice) in development. The latest annual report by the Texas-based grocer lists $5.6 billion in sales, up 19 percent from the previous year.

Starbucks pours tall, grande and venti coffee at 13,168 stores worldwide. Sales last year at $7.8 billion were only a couple of billion - give or take - more than Whole Foods. But Starbucks has grand (or venti) plans. It wants to be the “third place” you go after home and work.

Joe Coulombe is no longer part of Trader Joe’s. It’s now owned by a German billionaire, Theo Albrecht. TJs has been spreading out from Southern California and now has 288 stores. It managed to rake in $5 billion in 2006.

Both Whole Foods and Starbucks have had well publicized battles with workers attempting to organize a union. Michael Besancon, the Whole Foods president for its southern pacific region told the Venice Neighborhood Council, Oct. 17, that if his workers wanted a union, he would “feel that he had failed in his job.” The store is expecting to open next June.

Recently in Oakland, the city’s Planning Commission refused to grant a new Trader Joe’s store an alcohol permit until it has met with labor representatives.

Posted: Thu - November 1, 2007 at 02:02 PM