Friday, February 15, 2019

[UPDATE] Whole Foods Briarcliff to Close Within 60 Days

It was this past November when ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported that Whole Foods Market planned to close their popular Briarcliff store in 2019.  We are now able to confirm that the store will close in late March or early April 2 and will "move" to Midtown April 5.  The "move" you see is not a move at all, but merely the grocer attempting to save face by not calling it a closure, which it is. 
The new Whole Foods in Midtown - opening in the street level of the new ICON Midtown apartment high-rise - has been pushed multiple times from an originally announced summer 2017 opening.  Sources within Whole Foods now indicate that the store will open during the first week in April with the Briarcliff store expected to close a few days before.  The Midtown store, referred to as a "flagship" location, will be more than 70,000 square feet over two levels, far larger than the roughly 27,000 square foot Briarcliff Road store.   

A similar series of events played out in 2017 when Whole Foods-owned Harry's Farmers Market closed in Marietta near the Big Chicken ahead of its "move" about six miles north to the new Whole Foods Market near Kennesaw Mountain in Kennesaw. 

The Briarcliff Whole Foods, like the Harry's, is about six miles from the store where it will "move."  That said, the idea that neighbors accustomed to the convenience of a surface parking lot and small format store that is literally "around the corner" will make the "move" to the giant new store in a far more congested area where parking will be via a deck and travel may include highway driving, is preposterous. 

Whole Foods surely hopes that existing customers of the Briarcliff store will patronize the new 365 by Whole Foods Market near Decatur.  

However, ToNeTo Atlanta readers have blasted the grocer, now owned by Amazon, for the decision to close the Briarcliff store and made clear their feelings on the closure and their (un)willingness to travel to either of the new stores. 

"What a strange, dumb choice by Whole Foods / Amazon. One wonders if they researched Atlanta traffic at all. This store is always busy and there's no way people are going to drive from here to 14th or N. Decatur -- those customers will all be lost."

"I'm NEVER going to drive from Druid Hills to Decatur for anything Whole Foods."

Other readers said of the closure, "Lame" "This blows!" and "Bad move, Whole Foods." 

As for the store itself, sources close to the grocer indicate it has been sold and that the future of the property is not yet certain.  Local real estate sources suspect that the property will be redeveloped as some sort of residential development, likely multifamily.

The Briarcliff Whole Foods, by far the smallest of all the grocer's Atlanta area locations, was also the first in the state to open when it debuted in April 1999. The store, which measures 27,362 square feet, sits on just over three acres and is owned by Whole Foods Market Group, according to DeKalb County property records.  The county values the site (land + building) at about $6.5 million.

Are you a Toco Hills area resident who will travel to the new Whole Foods in Midtown?  Do you think Whole Foods is foolish to close their Briarcliff store?  What would you like to see open in place of the Briarcliff Whole Foods?

Please share your thoughts below  


Anonymous said...

The Fresh Market really just needed to last about 6 months longer and they would have picked up the Whole Foods traffic. Strange that Whole Foods is giving up on the Emory/CDC/CHOA core which seems to epitomize their target customers.

gw said...

I shop the Briarcliff Whole Foods and am not moved to drive the distance to shop 365 in Decatur or the Whole Foods in Midtown. I was surprised that Amazon bought Whole Foods, in the first place. Their business cultures seemed different. For example, where Whole Foods appeared to take an interest in developing small suppliers with time and money, Amazon appears not to (providing only a sales channel is not the same thing). I'm not sure Whole Foods will remain with Amazon unless more of the Whole Food's product range can be changed to higher sales volume items.

Amy said...

I love that store and I will just only go to Ponce so the new stores gain nothing from the Morningside folks who went to Briarcliff. In addition, it’s rrally about 55K SF but with the corridors and parking lot access it appears to be larger- it’s the same selling space as a Buckhead store for the most part.

Anonymous said...

I think it's an odd decision but really don't understand the reasons behind it. I know the area fairly well and the store always seemed to be busy. It was definitely smaller but still had a decent merchandise mix.

I apparently am in the minority when I say the Fresh Market location there was a good one after the renovation but apparently they couldn't attract customers. FM doesn't have the following of WF. I will go check out the new midtown store sometime but don't picture many of the Druid/Toco Hills area residents driving there or Decatur. I predict both of the 365 stores will be gone in a few years.

Anonymous said...

Nope I'lll go to Sprouts. Or Aldi. Or BuHi Farmers Market All are closer and easier to get to than the other Whole Foods locations.

Anonymous said...

Not likely a pure residential redevelopment.The property is zoned C-1, which does not allow for multifamily. Plus the surrounding neighborhoods would have an upheaval at the slightest hint of rezoning.
Mixed use might be possible with an Amazon Go anchored space.

Anonymous said...

I will NOT be travelling to Decatur to go to 365 WholeFoods. It sucks because my kids loved to walk here and buy things on their own. With so many families in the area, it was always busy.
This site DOES NOT need anymore multi-family.

Anonymous said...

I've been to the new 365 and I find it rather lackluster. It is somehow larger, but with less stuff than the Briarcliff WFM. I'll probably never go there again. I see no need to.

Anonymous said...

I live near the 365 WF in Decatur and won't shop there. It doesn't have what I love about Whole Foods. Guess I'll go to the Ponce location if I need a fix.

Anonymous said...

Fresh Market and the others couldn't attract customers because they did
NO ADVERTISING. What were they thinking? Even Aldi and Sprouts have
weekly inserts every Wednesday in the newspaper, along with Kroger and
Publix. The grocery industry is an extremely low profit margin business,
and I wonder if Amazon understands this and how they intend to change it.
I predict eventual failure for the Whole Foods/Amazon venture.

Anonymous said...

Why was my comment deleted? It was here for days and now it's gone. I came back to read others' comments.. and my simple comment about it becoming a Lidl and other suggestions is gone.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: deleted comment,

I'm not sure... did you post to our facebook page or another page instead. No comments have been deleted (by us) from this post.

Thanks for your readership and comments.

Joshua M said...

I live next door to this Whole Foods at Post Briarcliff, just moved in September, and living next door to a Whole Foods literally made me choose to live here over other communities. My apartment even overlooks the store, and I can always just walk out my door and into the store at a moments notice, so convenient. I just found out today from an employee and I am beyond ticked. There are two Krogers and a Publix within a mile or so of here yet Whole Foods persisted, but I guess Amazon doesn't care about communities that value a neighborhood store. But then again Amazon is known to bleed money to gain market share, they don't care about anything but having the 'most' of something, and a flagship store really fits with that model. I wonder if I'll get a discount on my rent now... probably not.

Anonymous said...

I moved to this neighborhood in 1999 at about the same time this Whole Foods opened and have gone to the store about 2-3 times a week since. I will not be driving to WF in midtown, Decatur, or anywhere else. I will cancel my Prime membership. Amazon must think that losing revenue is a good business strategy.

Cle said...

This closing of Whole Foods really stinks. I live in Lavista within walking distance. I drive by it every day going home & stop in at least three time a weeks. I try to stay out of Decatur whenever possible. I will not be going to the new Whole Foods but will have to travel to Ponce store. Sprouts,here I come.

Unknown said...

Amazon Amazon big corporate America

Susan said...

I live 1 mile from the Briarcliff Whole Foods and have been coming here 2-3x per week since it opened. Yes, I love it, and it also is so convenient. The 22 14th Street Midtown store, is a 5.5 mile drive from here. In Atlanta traffic - no - this is NOT possible! It may be the most amazing store in the city - but driving here during business hours will not happen for me. Perhaps, I could come on the weekend. So, so sorry Whole Foods - you are losing me as a regular customer. Perhaps you would like to move into the Fresh Market space on Briarcliff. One thing is clear - if you don't place a store in our Emory-Toco Hill area, another store will!

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