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Whole Foods to open in fall

Tori Roeck | Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Health-conscious students will have options beyond the Huddle’s limited organic and gluten-free options when Whole Foods opens in Mishawaka in the fall.

After investigating the South Bend area for years, the high-end grocery chain will take over the 24,000 square foot space on Grape Road formerly occupied by Borders, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Sophomore Kelly Cronin said she is greatly looking forward to shopping at the new Whole Foods.

“There’s so much good food there,” Cronin said.

Cronin said she suffers from Celiac disease, which restricts her to a gluten-free diet. Although the dining hall offers special meals for her, Cronin said she is excited to take advantage of Whole Foods’ vast inventory of gluten-free products.

“Whole Foods has some really great gluten-free breads and muffins, and they’re not in the refrigerator,” Cronin said. “Whereas the gluten-free stuff — at least at South [Dining Hall] — is in a little fridge, and you have to heat it up.”

Cronin said the presence of Whole Foods might also improve the gluten-free options provided in the dining halls.

“[Whole Foods] is going to allow the dining hall to offer more services because they won’t have to dig or order or do special things to get us food,” she said.

Besides opening up possibilities for the dining hall, Cronin said having a Whole Foods would give her more options for snacks and meals in her room.

“[Whole Foods has] better gluten-free cereal,” Cronin said. “Before I was diagnosed [with Celiac disease], I used to eat a lot of cereal. Gluten-free Chex is great, but sometimes I want something other than Chex.”

Junior Connor White said he is excited for Whole Foods to open because of the variety of organic foods sold there.

“I try to find more organic foods to eat here,” White said. “I’m stoked [for Whole Foods] because that’s where I do all my grocery shopping back home.”

White said despite Whole Foods’ notoriously high price point, organic food is cheaper there than at other local food stores.

“[I’m excited about] getting organic produce that’s not $5 for an apple,” White said.

“[Whole Foods’ price point] is better than any of the other health food stores around here. Obviously it’s a little bit more expensive than Meijer, but I’m willing to spend that much extra if it’s better food.”

A large part of student body president and vice president elect Brett Rocheleau and Katie Rose’s campaign platform was opening a high-end grocery in Eddy Street Commons.

Now that Whole Foods is opening in Mishawaka, Rocheleau said he and Rose are entertaining different ideas for a new store in Eddy Street Commons.

“Now we’re going to … really open it up to the students and do more surveys to see what the students would like to be on Eddy Street,” he said, “as well as communicate with South Bend and the mayor’s office to see what they think would be a nice place to open up there.”

Rocheleau said Student Senate’s Constituent Services Committee will send out email surveys to students regarding not only a new store in Eddy Street Commons, but also a new LaFortune Student Center restaurant to replace Sbarro’s when its contract expires next year.

Cronin said she thinks student government should not abandon plans to open a specialty grocery store in Eddy Street Commons.

“Having some sort of grocer would be really nice within walking distance [of campus] so you don’t have to have a car,” she said. “[Whole Foods] is not on the bus route, which is not so convenient.”

Instead of Sbarro’s, Cronin said she would like to see a Chinese restaurant in LaFortune, such as Pei Wei, P.F. Chang’s or a more health-conscious establishment.

“For those midnight munchies, we already have Reckers and the Huddle,” Cronin said. “I think we’re pretty well set on our high-caloric junk food.”