Whole Foods Market opening up store in Augusta

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013

Whole Foods Market

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Take a look around the Washington Crossing Shopping Center, and you'll see what Carlos Ayala sees every day.

"I don't think it draws in much of a strong crowd," he said. "It looks just like a plain warehouse that you would store something in."

But not for long. This time next year, he'll be seeing a whole new operation next door.

"A lot more people wanting to buy more organic, and people who are out probably want to go to a restaurant," Ayala said.

And he hopes their next stop is to see him at Marcella's. It's just one of the businesses already there, eager for any boom Whole Foods might bring.

"Other than just buying groceries, we hope to get people who want to buy high-quality products of tobacco," he said.

It's also giving Sarah Davis and her management company a chance to take Washington Crossing to whole new level.

"Whole Foods will be a big draw for their businesses as well," she said. "It is an older center and by having Whole Foods here, it'll help develop the property further, renovate it further."

That includes parking and those renovations will be designed to handle more congestion, more cars and more traffic.

That means more business for Ayala.

"Don't have to drive into town to find any products, just straight off the road, and here we are," he said.

And hopefully less of a headache and more of a positive shopping experience for you.

"It's at a good location where it's convenient to Richmond County shoppers but also to Columbia County shoppers," Davis told News 12.

Initial report:

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Another business has decided to open up shop in Augusta.

Whole Foods Market has announced plans to open a 41,000-square-foot store in the Washington Crossing Shopping Center in late 2014.

A company official says the store could create between 120 and 140 jobs.

The Augusta location will be the company's 10th store in Georgia, with eight in metro Atlanta and one in Savannah.

“We’ve been looking at the Augusta market for some time,” said Mike Howard, Whole Foods Market South region vice president, in a news release. “Augusta is a great city with a lot of interest in natural and organic food, so we are excited to be adding to our roster of stores in the area and to be bringing a new store to the market.”

According to a news release, "Whole Foods Market features a fresh and enticing selection of natural foods in their purest state, free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives as well as hydrogenated fats."

This comes on the heels of some other big announcements for the area. Outdoor retailer Cabela's is opening up shop in Augusta this spring, and the Georgia Theatre Company will be opening up a multimillion-dollar cinema in fall 2014. Both will be near Costco at the Village at Riverwatch. Bass Pro Shops will be opening up a story in Columbia County in fall 2014 or spring 2015.

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