By Sue Botos
After months of speculation, it has been comfirmed that Whole Foods will be opening a market in Rocky River in 2014.
According to information released by the Austin, Texas-based supermarket, eight new leases, including an unidentified Cleveland location, were included in its first-quarter financial report. Although a specific location was not given, a city official reported that the market, which specializes in healthful, natural products, will take over the site of the current Fitworks on Detroit Road in River Square Plaza.
A grassroots Facebook campaign called “Bring Whole Foods to Rocky River” was launched by resident Paul Fresty in June 2009 with the aim of securing a Whole Foods at the site of the former Target store in the Rockport Shopping Center on Center Ridge Road. While those posting on the site expressed their satisfaction that the franchise would be setting up shop in Rocky River, they questioned the location. “Although we … felt that the Detroit Road location is a bad choice, we applaud the decision to open one in our city, and one on the West Side in general,” stated one responder. Others expressed concern over more traffic on the already congested Detroit Road.
Fitworks representatives would not elaborate on future plans, but city economic development Director Kory Koran said the health club plans to remain in the city.
Koran anticipates that competition from Earth Fare, a similar market that recently opened in Fairvew Park, will not have an impact on the proposed Whole Foods. “You have Rite Aid and Walgreens close together. You have Lowe’s and Home Depot,” said Koran, referring to the healthy rivalry between like businesses. “There are two things residents want in a community – restaurants and grocery stores. Now we have a variety of all those,” he commented.