Something Strange in the Neighborhood

There’s an order to things when a neighborhood gentrifies. A scrappy company moves into some cheap office space. A dive bar gets hip. Exposed brick becomes a feature, not a bug. Facades improve. Rents go up. Graffiti becomes street art. People get dogs they can carry. Milk is replaced by soy which is replaced by almond. Parking gets tough. Facial hair turns ironic. Long-johns evolve into yoga pants. GMO-free wet cat food becomes a thing. A new Whole Foods breaks ground. The family next door gets chickens. And someone in a Tesla who’s drinking artisanal kombucha gives you a dirty look for inadequate composting. But what if things went out of order? What if the Whole Foods opened first? We’re about to find out because Whole Foods is moving into one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. From WaPo’s Emily Badger: “This store, though, is no act of philanthropy. Nor is it a bet, by Whole Foods, on neighborhood change. The arrival of its gleaming stores in a neighborhood often signals the influx of wealthier residents. But that is not likely to happen in Englewood, at least not any time soon. Whole Foods is planning to sell olive oil and snap peas to the people who live here now.”

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