By Daniel Williams
Whole Foods will be opening a store in Castle Rock in early 2020. The natural-grocery supermarket chain has signed a 20-year lease for space in Promenade, the 166-acre retail development just north of the Outlets at Castle Rock between I-25 and Highway 85.
Already in place at Promenade are well known brands such as Sam’s Club, T.J. Maxx and Lowe’s, but the addition of Whole Foods adds a certain luster to the development with the company’s identity as a seller of high-end organic products.
To date, an eclectic mix of nearly 60 businesses have opened at the site. And that’s all part of the grand design, according to Peter Cudlip, principal for Greenwood Village-based Alberta Development Partners, the developer of Promenade. Cudlip said the intent of offering a variety of tenants, including Whole Foods, will keep local residents shopping locally.
“I think it provides the residents with a reason to not have to leave the community,” Cudlip said.
Alberta Development Partners acquired the Promenade land in 2014 for $44 million and construction on the one million-square-foot development is planned for completion in 2021.
Don Provost, a founding principal at the firm, said at the time of the purchase, “This will be one of the largest community center developments in the United States. We look forward to bringing some of the best retailers in the country to Castle Rock.”
Other tenants include Sierra Trading Post and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop as well as locally-owned MidiCi, Popcorn Bliss and A Line Boutique. Cudlip said Alberta Development is also in talks with a hotel that would be located near the Sam’s Club.
The Amazon Effect
Whole Foods, which was purchased by Amazon last year for some $13.7 billion, calls itself “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” and was already considered the nation’s largest organic grocer even before the Amazon merger, but the company had been reeling for years due to increased competition, and store sales had lagged for seven straight quarters when Amazon purchased it.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, had long wanted to get into the grocery business. In 2007, he launched AmazonFresh, a grocery delivery service. But it never took off the way some of his other Amazon-related programs such as AmazonPrime did.
However, with nearly 500 Whole Foods locations in North America and the United Kingdom, Bezos may have found a foundation to disrupt the grocery business in the same way he disrupted bookstores. Bezos’ preferred delivery system is online shopping, and the online grocery business is booming right now according to industry analysts.
According to “The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” report, online grocery sales topped $20 billion in the U.S. last year and could become a $100 billion market by 2025. To put that into perspective, in 2016 “online sales were the equivalent of 764 grocery stores, based on store volume; by 2025, the digital share could become comparable to nearly 3,900 stores.”
And millennial shoppers will help drive those sales. According to the report, “Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt digital technologies more quickly, and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further.”