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What Impact Will Lund’s, Whole Foods Have On Downtown Mpls.?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Downtown Minneapolis is a busy place — 35,000 people live here and 165,000 people work downtown but until now there has been no full-service grocery store.

That will change Thursday as Lund’s opens a new store at 12th and Hennepin.

But Lund’s is not alone — Whole Foods has recently announced that it will open a store down the street on Hennepin and Washington in the fall of 2013.

The Lund’s store has been in the works for more than seven years but a slow economy has delayed the opening until now.

Workers are scrambling to get the new Lund’s ready by Thursday morning. The store has free parking, and adjoining the parking lot is an outdoor patio and a free-standing liquor store with sections devoted to craft beers and wine tasting.

“The people who can afford to live in downtown are upscale people,” Professor David Brennan of St. Thomas said.

Brennan said the new Lund’s is an upscale store tailored to the new boom in downtown residents.

“For the 35,000 people who live in the downtown area, it’s going to be a Godsend,” he said.

The new Whole Foods will be almost twice as big as the new Lund’s. Whole Foods has recently opened stores in Edina and Minnetonka and is planning another for Maple Grove.

The company said Twin Cities consumers are eager for organic and natural ingredients.

“We see a lot of interest in expansion and we have had a lot of people come to us and ask us for more stores in the Twin Cities and we are happy to finally be able to help them,” said Kate Klotz, a spokesperson for Whole Foods.

Previously, downtown shoppers could choose from a very small Target grocery offering on Nicollet Mall, and another Lund’s in Northeast Minneapolis. For consumers like Maggie Puetz, the new stores are great news.

“We don’t have anything that is really close to the neighborhood so I am excited,” Puetz said. “So I think it is a really good idea.”

Brennan said the new Lund’s and eventually the new Whole Foods will not only create more food shopping choices, it may eventually lead to more people choosing to live downtown.

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