Now That H Street Has Opened – Microscope is on the Navy Yard Whole Foods!!

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800 New Jersey Avenue, SE

As H Street was getting closer to opening, every time I posted I’d get emails asking about Navy Yard’s status. Unfortunately PR was unable to give an opening date so I stopped by last weekend to take a peek. Still a few months to go for sure:

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“Early 2017” may have been a bit ambitious when they announced in 2013 but a ton of progress has been made in the last year:

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Stay tuned.

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41 Comment

  • Navy Yard Whole Foods? Try Riverdale Whole Foods. EVERYONE wants to know when the Riverdale Whole Foods will open. Ok, well not everyone. But I do because I live in the neighborhood across the street and the signs are up and it looks like shelves are getting stocked. OPEN.

    • Riverdale looks like it’ll open before Navy Yard. Wish that development had more retail on Rhode Island Ave instead of just landscaping and parking lots.

  • Funny seeing all the hype about Whole Foods in places. The Whole Foods on P Street has been dwindling in crowds. You used to have to wait at the end of the store at 6:30 on a weekday – I haven’t had more than 4-5 people in front of me each time I’ve gone recently. I know it still gets busy on weekends and such, but that’s anywhere. Whole Foods has done a terrible job of being competitive and is basically a rip-off on many of its items.
    .
    “According to recent data from analysts at J.P. Morgan, Whole Foods was one of only two grocers in its 10-chain survey that haven’t lowered prices over the last two years.”
    .
    I like certain things at Whole Foods and it’s a better option than some other places when it comes to things like produce (and queso…mmmm queso). But I would never do my everyday shopping there – you’re basically throwing money away. That being said, cheers to you if you like that kinda thing.

    • justinbc

      That seems like an odd survey… why would they expect grocery prices to go down as the cost of everything else goes up?

      • There’s been deflation in many types of food the past two years.

      • Increased competition among the grocers as a result of the multitude of grocery delivery services that have popped up in the past couple of years.

        • justinbc

          Does Whole Foods (or a Whole Foods equivalent) offer delivery services though? Even though they’re a grocer, they’re still a rather niche grocer, who claims to only offer organic and non-this-and-that type products. I would say if Yes! or Mom’s or one of those other organic grocers is dropping prices and Whole Foods is not then that would be more alarming than comparing it to Safeway.

          • I simply answered your question above. You’ll notice that WF was one of two surveyed grocers who hasn’t lowered their prices, precisely due to the reasons you mention.

          • Instacart delivers from Whole Foods (also Yes! but why would you order from there when Whole Foods would be cheaper and better?). I don’t have a car, don’t live near a grocery store, and am often at work late, so I used them occasionally. Much more convenient than Peapod and Safeway (you can often order same day) and their customer service is better.

          • The other company that had no lowered cost was Fresh Market. Whole Foods is technically a “niche” grocer, but is increasingly becoming less and less unique as organic products are more readily available in regular supermarkets.

    • I think the hype is that Whole Foods has been a massive driver of development wherever it has opened – and the P Street location you site is Exhibit No. 1. Your anecdotal evidence of the P Street location having “dwindling” crowds aside, this was (I haven’t seen recent data) the highest grossing per square foot store in the country – so, some decline in usage would only be expected as more groceries open. That said, I live a block away, and it still consistently packed. Not sure why so much hate is directed at this chain – they do an excellent job in keeping quality products stocked, as well as excellent prepared food. Yes, the price point is higher – but if you’re not shopping for a family of 6, I would pay the premium any day (and I do) – as well as going to Costco for other bulk items. It’s a great chain, and I don’t think for a second I’m “throwing my money away.”

      • So buying a pint of Ben and Jerry’s for $7 when you can get the exact same pint at any other supermarket for under $5 is not throwing away money?
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        And one could probably argue that a major supermarket of any sort can help spur development. Look at the Giant on O Street. It doesn’t have to be Whole Foods, does it?

        • justinbc

          There are certain products that you can only find at Whole Foods, and there are certain brands where Whole Foods carries 10-15 options where HT or Giant may only carry 2 or 3, and Whole Foods winds up being cheaper for those brands. If you like those brands then buying them in bigger quantities at Whole Foods is actually cheaper because they negotiate better sales. They also tend to carry a much larger selection of locally made items.

          • I get that – see my original post. There are still things I like to buy at Whole Foods. But that’s why I said I get the stuff I like getting there, but it’s not my everyday supermarket. If it were, I would be simply throwing away money (i.e. when I devour a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked).

          • I find this argument interesting – WF has better meat (apparently worth the premium), better and sometimes cheaper produce, cheaper organics, and, as discussed in other threads, cheaper olive oil, bulk grains/nuts/seeds, and beer and wine…but they’re not a good “everyday grocer” because…premium ice cream is more expensive? I mean, I know my diet looks a bit different from your average “blue collar Midwestern American,” but meat/fish, produce, oils, and grains/nuts/beans available in the bulk section are the things I eat everyday, with beer and wine a few-days-a-week indulgence, and premium ice cream bringing up the rear as a once or twice a week treat. Sure, WF is more expensive on some packaged items (don’t get me started on canned tuna…which is, indeed, insanely expensive at WF), but since those generally keep for months to years, I can buy a bunch when they’re on sale elsewhere so they’re on hand…making the “cheaper” stores my “occasional” shopping locations. Even my smallish kitchen can handle several boxes of pasta and a dozen cans of tuna without being overwhelmed.
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            Also, B&J is $5 at WF. I had a coupon and spent only $.75 more than Harris Teeter this week. You may call that “throwing away money,” I call it a “small convenience charge,” in the sense that I didn’t have to go to *another* store to pick up just one thing. Getting home and having a nice meal sooner was definitely worth less than a dollar.

          • Hi, that was 1 example, not representative of my entire diet. And are there SELECT things that are equal/cheaper? Sure. For the third time, I stated there are things I like to get there – even things that are more expensive (i.e. cut meats). But please share with me any comparison of Whole Foods vs. any other grocer that Whole Foods comes out the same.
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            The last price comparison I saw had Trader Joe’s being cheaper on milk ($1 difference), almond milk (50 cent difference), eggs, butter, nuts (almonds/peanuts/etc), pasta, olive oil ($1/difference), etc. Those are pretty regular items. If you bought just those same 7 items at Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods, you would have saved over $4.

      • justinbc

        Don’t they also pay their workers significantly better than “regular” grocery stores? And offer benefits?

      • I acknowledged that their price point is higher – and, yes, there are things I wouldn’t buy there (including ice cream! and meats). I do a lot of bulk shopping at Costco, but for highest quality vegetables (and yes, they are higher, given I have experienced how quickly veggies have gone bad from other stores), and certain prepared foods, I am happy to pay the higher prices. Again, I have never understood the vitriol directed at this chain (and folks who shop there). The shopping experience is substantially better here – at least to me. As for your point that any grocery is a driver of development, I think you are correct; however, there have been studies of the “Whole Foods effect”, and that it has a bigger impact on driving development where it has gone in.

        • “I never understood the vitriol directed at WF” – many people can’t afford to shop there on a regular basis – there really isn’t much more to it

          • justinbc

            Yeah basically. Kind of like how people here flip out when a high end designer opens in CityCenter, or stores in Shaw that sell $300 custom made fragrances.

          • So you think the only people who don’t like Whole Foods are bitter cause they aren’t rich? That’s….rich.

        • Where do you buy meats? I sometimes go to Whole Foods just for their meat. They have pretty high quality and many more organic, humane options.

          • +1

            We purchase all our meat from whole foods.

          • justinbc

            The meats are significantly better, and you (almost never) see stuff past when it should be sold as in other stores. If I’m at a HT their meats will usually do, but prefer WF when possible.

          • I like their meat – usually the service is painful. For more “fresh” cut meat, I like getting it there – more basics chicken, etc. not necessary. I enjoy their sausages as well.

    • you’re complaining about shorter lines! seriously? and who does “everyday shopping” at any grocery store unless they have zero forethought?

      • When did I “complain” about shorter lines? I simply pointed out they existed. Geesh.

        • easy does it slim. just buy all your goods from Safeway and then post about all your savings and fabulous experiences. in the meantime, just take a nap.

          • What an awkward response. Seems like you’re projecting with the “take a nap” directive.

          • Are you Kellyanne Conway by chance? Geez. Read my post…I said I go to Whole Foods for select things. I guess I’m not rich enough to be your friend?

  • justinbc

    Very nice. I’ll probably never go to this location since H Street is closer, but hopefully it helps reduce some of the bodies at the H Street location. That place is so packed, and I’m sure some of it is people checking out the new toy, but with it currently being the only one on the eastern half of the city I don’t see it dying down much until this and the new TJs (Eastern Market and Union Market) open up.

    • skj84

      I think the hype is dwindling already. I popped in Monday around 5:30pm and it was much less crowded than earlier in the week. Granted it was a Monday, but I was fully expecting it to be busier than it actually was.

      • Monday should probably be the slowest day out of the week given that everyone has completed their shopping over the weekend. Monday is a low traffic day in general do to all of the teleworking in the city.

  • What about the 965 Florida Ave Whole Foods???

  • From what I’ve heard, whole foods can’t begin build out until the Agora Apartment building is done, which is maybe 5-6 months out, and the build out of the store can take several months from that point. I’m really hoping that’s wrong and it comes earlier.. but it sounds like late, late 2017 at the earliest.

  • I live in the Park Chelsea, next door to the Agora/ WF, and our leasing agent said the space is ready for WF. They turned the space over to them about a month ago.

    • yay! good intel! hope you’re right.
      I don’t usually care for the high prices at WF, but I’ll go there to get away from the crappy produce at HT.

    • Oh wow… I had heard they weren’t turning over that lease until June. I hope you’re right and I’m not!

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