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Why Whole Foods Market has not opened a store in Shreveport-Boss - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Why Whole Foods Market has not opened a store in Shreveport-Bossier

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

It's a grocery store dedicated to organic food. Whole Foods Market sweeps across the nation as the 'it' place to shop, but not in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

"Store site decisions are based on a combination of factors," said Kristina Bradford, Louisiana Whole Foods community relations coordinator. "That includes the availability, the cost of real estate, population density, education, income and interest in natural and organic foods. No one factor is most important, but the right combination is."

Bradford could not comment directly on the specifics of the factors she named, stating she was not apart of the scouting location committee.

What would the numbers tell us, and companies like Whole Foods, about how Lafayette and Shreveport-Bossier compare? 

The 2011 US Census Bureau says the population of Shreveport was 200,975 and Bossier City had 62,745 people. That's way more than Lafayette's population of 122,130.

However, the wealth of a population does come into play. When you look at median income by household, Shreveport's income level of $36,803 was much lower than Lafayette's median of $44,688.  But then you look at Bossier's numbers, which are considerably higher at $46,518—bringing a more affluent group into this region. 

So with a bigger population in Shreveport-Bossier, and Bossier's income helping to bring Shreveport's up, is there another factor at play here?

Whole Foods did tell us they looked at education levels, and organic food trade associations say that when it comes to buying organic food, higher education levels seem to matter more than income. 

Here's where Lafayette is clearly highest with 33 percent of their population having higher education, while Bossier and Shreveport are 23 and 24 percent, respectively.

But Bradford reassures KTBS that moving to Shreveport is not out of the question.

"We always are looking for new sites, and at this point we're a growing company," she explained. "In any community, we're always looking. Shreveport is a possibility in the future. We just don't have immediate plans at this time."

We talked to folks after they grocery shopped. It didn't matter to them why Whole Foods have not opened a store here just yet. The only thing that mattered was that it will come, and they hope soon.

 "It's really hard to find good organic food here," said shopper Susan Mercer. "A lot of times I have to go from Kroger to Sunshine to Drug Emporium to get everything I want. I think it would just be fabulous to get a Whole Foods."

 "In our house, we're moving a lot more towards organic," explained Mark Jacob. "We just bought a juicer. We're trying to eat a lot healthier. It's real tough now to find things that are organic, the vegetable, the milk, that kind of thing."

Whole Foods are certainly taking a new strategy and expanding beyond high end markets by opening a store in Detroit in just a few days. Detroit is considered one of the poorest cities in the country, with low education levels and high poverty rates. Taking a look at the numbers shows that Detroit lagged far behind Shreveport in income and education. 

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