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August 17. 2013 2:00AM

Whole Foods plans to come to Nashua create buzz


News that Whole Foods Market is coming to Nashua went viral after this sign appeared Tuesday at Turnpike Plaza on Amherst Street, where the natural foods grocer will operate from the former Market Basket site. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA - There has been a lot of buzz about New Hampshire's first Whole Foods Market opening shop in the city next year, along with mixed reactions about the organic grocery store.

There is no denying that Whole Foods Market has found a niche in the supermarket industry with more than 340 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. And, according to supermarketnews.com, Whole Foods expects to open 12 new stores in the fourth quarter of this year, along with 33 to 38 new stores in 2014.

One of those stores will be located at the Turnpike Plaza on Amherst Street, where Whole Foods will operate from the former Market Basket site.

According to the company's website, Whole Foods is the world's leader in natural and organic foods.

"We seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry and have an unshakable commitment to sustainable agriculture," the company says on the site.

The business isn't afraid to take risks either, as it plans to open a store on Wednesday in Lynnfield, Mass., where produce will be grown on the roof, according to boston.com.

Company officials are remaining tight-lipped about the new Whole Foods store in Nashua, but did issue a recent statement about its first store in the Granite State.

"We are so excited to have this opportunity to bring Whole Foods Market to New Hampshire. We have been searching for the perfect location to serve the community with a full shopping experience and we are pleased to have found it in Nashua," said Laura Derba, regional president.

Heather McCready, a spokeswoman for the company, said that because it is so early in the process, there isn't much information to provide except that the Nashua store is expected to open in 2014.

Nashua resident Rossy Lopez said she's curious about the arrival of Whole Foods.

"I will probably check out the new store once it opens and see what type of deals they have," Lopez said. "I usually shop at BJ's and Costco because we like to shop in bulk. Otherwise, I am at Market Basket or Shaw's. But if something new is coming, I will look into it."

Mariellen Durso of Derry says she has visited a Whole Foods Market in Rhode Island, and while she was impressed with the merchandise, she was floored by the prices.

"It was a nice experience, but it was too expensive," Durso said. "I really do look for the price when I shop for groceries. I go through fliers and I research for the best deals."

The Texas-based company has been planning to move into Nashua since at least 2006, according to a quarterly report published in that year. Officials from Whole Foods have been working to find an ideal location and lock up a deal in Nashua for several years.

Early last year, the company's website listed Nashua as a future store site, but Whole Foods representatives would not elaborate on the news, other than to say that the chain was in the process of developing a store in Nashua. However, news broke on Tuesday when a sign announcing the future store was installed at the Turnpike Plaza.

News quickly went viral on social media sites where residents like Peggy Trivilino shared her excitement.

Trivilino, who lives nearby, said she was thrilled to hear the news.

"It will be really nice to have a grocery that caters to my preferences right in my backyard," she posted, stressing she will still be comparison shopping before taking out her wallet.

Others compared the news to Christmas Day.

"I have been waiting for this for years," posted Lisa Havee.

George Durante, program coordinator for Nashua's Office of Economic Development, said the city is excited about the future Whole Foods Market.

"It has been a long time coming," he said. "This is a major win for the city."

khoughton@newstote.com



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