Posted by Dale Buss on August 22, 2013 02:40 PM
The "new normal" in grocery shopping has presented Whole Foods Markets with a new dilemma: how to tap into the increasingly promotional appetites of its financially stressed target demographic without diluting the exclusivity and cachet of a brand whose nickname has become "Whole Paycheck."
Whole Foods leadership is tackling that challenge carefully, both emulating the discount tactics used by traditional supermarkets at the same time that it does so only selectively, at least for now.
"The recession was a wake-up call for us," Co-CEO Walter Robb told the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, he said, "People are stuck in the past about what Whole Foods is in the marketplace."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 31, 2013 11:47 AM
In a touching tip of the hat to nostalgia, a group in Detroit is trying to raise enough money to save some of the factory where Rosie the Riveter helped build nearly 9,000 B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II and became an icon of American female empowerment.
The Save the Bomber Plant campaign has raised $4.5 million of the $8 million required to separate and preserve 175,000 square feet of the Ypsilanti Township plant and convert it to a new home for the Yankee Air Museum.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2013 01:09 PM
The City of Detroit, its leaders and workers and residents in tow, opened a door to their future as emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the Motor City on Thursday.
Michigan's largest city became the biggest US municipality to file for bankruptcy after decades of population loss, endemic infrastructure decline, inept management, struggles with its suburbs, national image problems and other woes that left Detroit too poor to pay its billions of dollars in debts to bondholders, retired cops, current city workers and other creditors.
Despite more recent investments by national retailers and a hopeful "comeback" campaign—not to mention Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" civic pride-filled campaign—the city's fate was written in stone.
The filing "is an emotional and cultural nadir that is tear-inducing and gut-wrenching," wrote Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, in a typical sentiment. "Bankruptcy is the bottom of a tremendous, Roman-empire-like slide for one of the world's most significant locales."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2013 01:21 PM
Supermarket expansion in major cities is a major theme in the US food-distribution and grocery business lately, with Walmart setting up shop—or attempting to do so—in key urban markets, and even Detroit now getting a share of major new grocery stores.
And when it comes to the Motor City, Whole Foods Markets appears to have given Detroit neighborhoods near Wayne State University a shot in the arm with its recent opening. But the potentially far more significant opening will occur on July 25 when Meijer sets up shop at the intersection of the two most iconic thoroughfares in Detroit: Woodward Avenue and Eight Mile Road.
The Meijer brand is relatively unknown outside its base in Flyover Country, where it operates more than 200 supercenters in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, and served as the "local Walmart" before Walmart did. But metro Detroit denizens all have known Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer as the place to go over the decades for good prices and selection of not only CPG fare but all sorts of consumer goods.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2013 02:21 PM
The opening of the first Whole Foods Market in Detroit today may be great for the city. But will it end up diluting the hard-won Whole Foods brand, especially considering the chain's planned emphasis on making the Motown store budget-friendly?
Those are among the issues attending the ceremonial opening of the Whole Foods in Detroit's Midtown district, which featured Mayor Dave Bing and even US Sen. Debbie Stabenow as well as Whole Foods executives. It's viewed as an important step forward for the retail market in a city that has become a poster child for "produce deserts" and "food insecurity" as well as all sorts of other maladies.
It "is a game-changer for our city," Bing said in a statement. "Not only does it offer central-city residents more choices and more convenience for grocery shopping, it also proves that Detroit is an attractive destination for national retailers."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 16, 2013 02:48 PM
Fiat is reportedly considering shifting its global headquarters to the Detroit area. That would be a huge material and attitudinal boost for the region in the wake of a new report about the City of Detroit's finances that is even bleaker than before.
When Chrysler was acquired by Mercedes-Benz 15 years ago, effectively moving the headquarters of one of the old American Big Three to Germany, it was yet another body blow to a troubled metro-Detroit area that had already been in decline for decades. When Fiat and the US taxpayer rescued Chrysler (under post-Mercedes owners) from bankruptcy in 2009, at least there was hope of keeping the company, even though its new parent was Italian.
Now, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has signaled strong consideration for moving the worldwide center of the entire Fiat-Chrysler enterprise to Michigan, perhaps to help fill out Chrysler's relatively new headquarters complex in Auburn Hills, Mich., in north-suburban Detroit. Bloomberg reported that Marchionne is evaluating a switch from Turin, Italy, where Fiat was founded in 1899.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 6, 2013 04:33 PM
It's just another day in the rehabilitation efforts of Detroit. The city has launched its first business-to-business image campaign in five years, and Al Jazeera America has revealed that it'll place one of its dozen US news bureaus in Detroit, which has one of America's largest populations of people of Arab descent.
The last several months have continued to be rough on the image of the Motor City despite the fact that the Detroit Three automakers have been coming back smartly, manufacturing in metro Detroit is re-expanding, the Red Wings qualified for this month's playoffs for an NHL-record 22 years, Motown: The Musical has debuted on Broadway, and there's a genuine and substantial influx of workers and denizens back in the battered downtown of Detroit.
Still, the city has struggled to find its footing as Michigan instated an emergency financial manager on a resistant Detroit city government, and residents and tourists alike have struggled to "Say Nice Things About Detroit."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 22, 2013 10:48 AM
Every game-changing relationship has an arc that eventually dwindles, and maybe even ends. Obama-Clinton. Manning-Colts. Kardashian-Humphries.
That may be the case with Chysler-Detroit. Even as the company has been moving some of its suburban employees to downtown Motown, Chrysler marketers are signaling a change in the three-year-old, market-changing relationship between Chrysler and the city that helped the brand and the company back up off the canvas and played a huge role in returning Chrysler to long-term viability.
"There are three words in 'Imported From Detroit,'" Olivier Francois, Chrysler Group's CMO, recently told brandchannel. "Everyone thinks of the noun, 'Detroit." And we might have put more emphasis initially on the noun because Eminem is a great ambassador and music is all about Detroit and Chrysler 'is' Detroit. And 'Detroit' brings a certain romance to the brand."Continue reading...