Can Chicago's South Side Afford Whole Foods?

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Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel discusses bringing business to the city. "Lunch Money" host Adam Johnson reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Chicago mayor rahm emanuel might not strike you as a food salesman, but his former chief of staff has just tricky deal with whole foods for maturing to bring upscale markets into one of chicago hoss poorest neighborhoods.

The co-ceo of whole foods says the company will open what it calls and urban store in the community of inglewood on chicago's southside.

It will open in 2016. we understand that the affordability and accessibility is essential, and we will make that commitment.

Through the pushing of the bolt foods and the cooking and education information, they are always in which you can make healthy, fresh foods available and affordable.

It satisfies one of mayor emanuel's goals by shrinking the so-called food deserts, areas where people had to travel more than one mile to buy fresh food and meat.

He told betty liu it is not just about whole foods.

Walgreens has opened up about 10 stores which they reconverted four aisles with fresh foods and meats.

Also walmart's throughout the city.

I convened all the major retailers and said to be a good corporate citizen of chicago, i do not want you to serve part of the city.

I want you to serve the whole city.

Each and every one of them stepped up.

They are not doing this as charity work.

This is in their business interests to serve the whole city.

I think it is going to show why it makes economic sense to invest in that area.

Obviously the first time out of the gate, lincoln -- linking it with community colleges to train people in culinary sciences make some groundwork.

I give whole foods credit.

As we have been working on this, we have been communicating constantly.

As you well know, it is easier for these things do fall apart than to succeed.

So to get to this point, we have had a great partner in whole foods, and they have made a major decision to invest in a part of the city that usually gets passed over.

Walk me through that.

What do you think did it for them?

What really made them say, look, this is not just charitable, but this is actually good business?

A couple things.

No doubt, there is a lot of foot traffic.

It has got to make sense.

There is a community college.

They want it to be part of all of chicago, not just some of chicago.

I also think that walter and i started our conversation not about food deserts, but having a full school day and full school year, we put recess back into our schools because we want kids exercising.

We are rebuilding every playground in the city of chicago so every child is within a seven-minute walk of a new part facility.

We had the largest and most comprehensive wellness plan for all of our city employees.

32,000 people involved in a wellness plan.

Having an dealing with the food deserts and giving all residents equal access to quality foods and quality fruits and vegetables is the first step in healthy living.

Walter shares that vision.

He not only shares it, he was ready to invest in it.

I give whole foods a lot of credit for stepping up, as other companies have also participated in a reading the food deserts throughout the city.

One of the issues that lower income people have had is being able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is because they are costly, much more expensive than buying a soda and a bag of doritos.

Whole foods is known for its premium products, so how will they afford these products?

That is their job.

They have analyzed it and think they can make a go of this, as have other stores.

I firmly believe -- because i see it constantly, that where you open up an acre of land not for our -- not far from her the store is, we have one that is designated an organic farm in the city of chicago.

You give people that choice, they will make the right choice for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sometimes they say we do not have that opportunity and it is too hard for us.

Not just financial.

Transportation, convenience.

We are going to take away all the excuses from a convenience standpoint.

Whole foods has done a serious study of the demographics of the area.

They believe they can make a go of this.

I believe they can't because there will be a lot of foot traffic that will go -- i believe they can because there will be a lot of foot traffic.

It will be right in the neighborhood.

Tomorrow we will find out

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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