Natural and organic supermarket Whole Foods Market announced its first Northern Indiana location will be in Mishawaka.
The 24,000 square foot store is set to open in late fall of 2012 at 4230 Grape Road at the former Border's bookstore with 90 and 100 employees.
While many consumers welcomed the announcement, it had mixed reaction at Apple Valley Natural Foods, a smaller vegetarian natural food store just one mile from the Whole Foods site.
"I didn't realize it was going to be on our front porch, but competition is always good. It makes you stronger, it makes you have to work a little bit harder, but that's good for everybody," said Michelle Dahms, manager at Apple Valley. "Any time something is new everybody wants to check it out, but I really think our customer base is good, it's very strong. People like the one-on-one and I think that's so important, so I’m really not that worried, I think we can hold our own."
A spokesperson for Whole Foods told NewsCenter 16 the company has looked at the Michiana area for years, but only recently found a site that met its needs at the former Border's.
"It really did become more of a timing issue. They know what they look for in a market. The demographics were here. They were beginning to roll out a smaller market program, which we fit perfectly for that, and again when the opportunity for Border's came up that's when it came together," said Tim Mehall, Vice President of Retail for Cressy & Everett Real Estate, which owns the building.
Mishawaka was one of eight new stores nationwide announced Wednesday by Whole Foods. Of the three that are in the Midwest, two are in former Border's.
"There's always fear every time you have a store like Border’s go bankrupt across the country, you've got to do everything you can to fill that space. It's good location, it's easy to get to from Main Street, Grape Road, Day Road, so you never really know, but every once in a while you're fortunate enough to find somebody that likes what you have and you're able to structure a deal," said George Cressy, CEO of Cressy and Everett.
Whole Foods expects to start hiring managers around May followed by remaining staff.