Will Your Grocery Shopping Habits Change When Whole Foods Opens?

Where do you shop now? Will the new Whole Foods on Gilman Street become one of your stops?

Living close to Gilman Street, I'm a potential regular when Whole Foods moves into the current Office Depot location at the end of 2014. I'm not sure that'll happen.

My routine stops now: the Albany Safeway, Berkeley Natural Grocery, Trader Joe's in Berkeley and Costco in Richmond. BevMo, too, but that's getting us off track.

Occasionally, I'll hit Andronico's on Solano but always leave feeling like I've spent too much for too little. When Whole Foods moves in, I suspect I'll drop Andronico's and feel the same way. And the traffic at Gilman Street and San Pablo Avenue will be a deterrent except during off-peak shopping hours.

Putting aside how you feel about Whole Foods' decision to take its sales tax benefits over the border, will you shop there?

Are you a Whole Foods fan who's pleased to have one closer than the Telegraph Avenue store? 

Is the chain's "Whole Paycheck" reputation deserved, and will it keep you away?

Are you a hater of Gilman Street traffic conditions and intend to avoid it whether or not Whole Foods has traffic signals installed?

What are your current grocery shopping habits and are you satisfied with them?

lindy February 26, 2013 at 02:50 PM
we do shop at the Telegraph Ave WF's, so we will probably go to the Gilman one. We are worried about the traffic though. The Gilman St exit is a mess now.
Lisa Park February 26, 2013 at 03:31 PM
I shop at the Bowl, the Berkeley Natural Grocery, El Cerrito Natural Grocery and occasionally Trader Joe's. Long ago I used to shop at Whole Foods, but I found it expensive and also prefer to support local businesses. I doubt I will shop at the new Whole Foods on Gilman.
Ken February 26, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Currently shop @ Monterey Market, Trader Joe's, occasionally Berkeley Bowl. WF on Telegraph rarely b/c it's too far. Will definitely shop at the new WF for certain items (mainly their house brand stuff), but will continue most shopping at MM and TJ. Unfortunately, all these places are NOT in Albany. Thanks again, OTF'rs and Albany residents who signed the petition that caused WF to pull out of Albany. :(
Senior A. Titude February 26, 2013 at 04:48 PM
I mostly split my shopping between Monterey Market/Magnani's and Trader Joes. Very rarely hit up Andronico's. Since I bike to do my shopping, traffic on Gilman will not be an issue for me (although a better bike route would be nice). I'll probably stop by WF once a week just to see if there's anything special that grabs my interest, but it won't be one of my staple, go-to, shopping runs because my basic needs are met at the other two markets. I might get a deli sandwich when I'm out riding if they have a place to sit and then see if I need any specialty items.
Ari Soglin (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 04:56 PM
That Gilman problem is ugly. Berkeleyside did a nice update on it last week, in which it was reported that the project is stuck because it doesn't have the funding. And even if it did, we're still at least two years away from getting through the approval process. So, it'll be several years before that project happens. Or never. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2013/02/22/whats-happening-with-the-gilman-street-interchange/
hesavesall February 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Ken my shopping habits are exactly the same! I too noticed these places are not in Albany. Makes it challenging to shop where you live. Safeway is too expensive and the quality isn't very good.
NancyP February 26, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Ditto that. Isn't it nice that we will have massive Gilman traffic and Albany won't get any revenue?
Dover February 26, 2013 at 09:15 PM
I now only use Safeway in case of late night emergencies. I stopped buying anything refrigerated or frozen there after hearing the employees discuss the quality of the refrigeration units. I'm also not a big fan of unripe or elderly produce. Not to mention the place is usually filthy. I know it's hard to keep a business clean when it is open 24 hours a day but an effort still has to be made. I'll still patronize a variety of other businesses in Berkeley and El Cerrito but I figure if Ulan can shop at Dollar Tree with a clear conscience, I can darn sure shop at Whole Foods with a clear conscience. So I'll be there with bells* on! *fairtrade bells, natch ;-)
don February 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM
i believe staying what we have safeways been good for us and we have so many people buying so this would take from mom pop stores so i wont buy whole foods don
Carmen Canchola Brockmeyer February 28, 2013 at 04:53 AM
I will definitely shop at Whole Foods on Gilman!!! Best news I've heard all damn day!
Tatter Salad February 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Ditto with me, but p/u Salmon and bananas (and gas) at Costco. I would probably make an attempt to find 'lost leader' sales at WF if/when they get closer. While I'm not enthused by their prices (and 18 different brands of bottled water!?), I do appreciate their 'upper management' salary curb where NO ONE in the company makes more than 8X the salary of the average employee. Safeway, and other chains are so top-heavy it's ludicrous, -so this single WF policy impresses me.
Craig Westbrooke March 03, 2013 at 04:16 PM
with no left turn light or lane at Gilman and SPA for people heading back to Albany, traffic is very frustrating. Sometimes only one car at a time can turn at the light. The alternate of driving thru the Village is not a very good one. If they can fix the congestion at Gilman and SPA then I would consider it, but Safeway and Luckys and at times Andronicos are still much more convenient.
Ari Soglin (Editor) March 03, 2013 at 04:59 PM
It feels that left lane would need to be a left turn-only lane with a left-turn arrow, though there must be reasons that hasn't happened already. Without that configuration, I suspect drivers will either do as Craig suggests and work their way through the Village or go straight and work their way north via a street like Masonic.
Albany Denizen March 04, 2013 at 01:50 AM
I shop mainly Lucky's because it is a union store. Probably very few Whole Foods visits from me.
Michael Elder March 04, 2013 at 05:20 AM
We will still go to Trader Joes for essentials, Costco for our bulk items and Lucky's in El Cerrito Plaza for things neither have avoiding Whole "Wallet" Foods, Gillman and that end of San Pablo Avenue.
Mark Wolmetz March 04, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Whole Foods is overpriced and not a store that I shop at. I currently do most of my grocery shopping at Berkeley Bowl West and occasionally at Safeway (preferably Shattuck Ave as it is renovated and enlarged) for paper products and other items that are much cheaper than at BBW. The issue of a store not being in Albany is totally irrelevant to me.


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