FTC Approved Purchase of New Store for Trader Joe’s at Former Wild Oats Store; Whole Foods Pulls Popular Tea

By Carol McCracken (Post # 501)

The long-awaited approval by the Federal Trade Commission came yesterday when it approved Trader Joe’s purchase of the former Wild Oats store – located just a block away from each other. No one knows exactly when Joe’s will open. However, the city did give the popular California chain permission on May 27, to begin making rennovations to the building then.

Portlanders have long been anticipating the arrival of Trader Joe’s which is considered to be a rival of the Texas based organic retailer. Many are speculating just how Joe’s arrival in Portland will affect the well-established business of Whole Foods. Employees of Whole Foods earlier today did not seem concerned. One employee said the competitor sells “different stuff.” Another employee who lives on the Hill, said: “It’s good for the community. There will be more variety, although Joe’s does not have the quality we have.”

Customers inside Whole Foods were pleased about the move. “I love Trader Joe’s. As a former Californian, I’m thrilled that TJ’s is coming to Portland. It has incredible variety and good prices.” Another customer in the store said: “I’ve heard its great so I’m really forward to having it here. I just discovered this place. The prices scared me away.”

Another customer in the parking lot said: “Some of the stuff is fairly priced and some is over priced. It’s a/k/a – “whole pay check.” These guys have knocked off other businesses, but that’s how it goes.”

On a related matter, Whole Foods recently announced that it has pulled from all of its stores a popular fermented tea – Kombucha. The chain was concerned about labeling because of “slightly elevated” alcohol levels in the tea. Proponents of the tea say it aids cancer recovery, increases energy, sharpens eyesight as well as provides other health benefits to consumers. According to the daily newsletter to the food industry, “Sustainable Food News,” …there is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and most claims are largely unverified or subjective.”

For more information on this industry newsletter, please contact Dan McGovern at (207) 749-5249.