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Which States Are Without Whole Foods?

Whole Foods has clearly established guidelines for store locations, which typically include a population of at least 200,000 residents and specific demographic characteristics, such as a significant population of college-educated people. Alaska’s distance from the contiguous U.S., low population density and low percentage of college-educated adults could influence the chain’s decision to expand there, though Anchorage’s mayor told the Anchorage Daily News he envisions that one is coming to town. Likewise, the Dakotas and West Virginia have lower population densities and/or low numbers of college-educated adults, which may make them less attractive for retail. Delaware almost had a Whole Foods in early 2010, but a planned location in North Wilmington was rejected, prompting the chain to open a store just across the Pennsylvania border instead. The lack of Whole Foods in Vermont may be due to community resistance and local competition.

While these factors collectively explain Whole Foods’ absence from these six states, it’s clear that the chain’s criteria for new locations plays an important role. Nevertheless, the growing demand for organic food leaves the door open for future expansion. Until then, state residents may have to cross borders, find another supermarket chain to shop organic, or rely on alternatives like Sprouts or local co-ops to meet their organic and natural food needs.

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