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Expect the effect — Whole Foods to make Jackson top spot

Say what you will about Jackson, life is about to change in the capital city.

Whole Foods broke ground last week on a new store, a 30,000-square-foot facility, in Jackson’s Highland Village that is expected to open near Thanksgiving of 2013.

When it does open, it will automatically launch Highland Village into the No. 1 spot among shopping locations in Mississippi.

It’s not a knock against any other locations in the state, it’s an acknowledgement of the power Whole Foods has had on communities throughout America.

If you ask Whole Foods why it’s breaking ground on a store in Jackson, it’ll say it wants to be part of “an incredible community” and “make natural foods available to everyone.”

And that may be. But it’s also true that the Austin, Texas-based retailer has made a science of putting down roots in urban locations at what often seems to be just the right moment.

As reported again and again, the grocer has gone into places like Washington, D.C., near Logan Circle in 2000, Uptown New Orleans and the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh in 2002, Boston’s “Latin Quarter” in Jamaica Plain in 2011 — areas that other specialty grocers might have considered unworthy of goat cheese and ostrich eggs, but that were actually on the verge of a boom that, lo and behold, kicked into high gear as soon as Whole Foods moved in.

The company is so good at the real estate game that it has spawned a catchphrase, the Whole Foods Effect.

Expect the effect to occur in Jackson.

This is not to say that the opening of Whole Foods will cure all that ails Jackson or Mississippi. However, it will make Jackson attractive to shoppers, and will push Highland Village into overdrive with businesses wanting hang onto the coattails of an American success story.

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