Cityscape

Whole Foods will close its original area store when it opens new one by UMKC

Whole Foods Market plans to close its store at 7401 W. 91st St., Overland Park, in early 2018 when a new store opens by UMKC.
Whole Foods Market plans to close its store at 7401 W. 91st St., Overland Park, in early 2018 when a new store opens by UMKC.

Whole Foods Market plans to shutter its original Overland Park store right before opening a new location by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“We aren’t closing our store so much as relocating it,” said Allison Phelps, spokeswoman for Whole Food Markets. “This will allow us to provide a better shopping experience for our customers. Team members from the Metcalf store will automatically be transferred to the new location.”

The natural and organic foods supermarket chain plans to close the 40,488-square-foot store, at 7401 W. 91st St., in early 2018 and then transfer the employees to a new 46,000-square-foot store at 51st Street between Brookside Boulevard and Oak Street, by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Overland Park store was the first for the area market when it opened in early 2002. The new location is 9.5 miles from the Overland Park location, according to MapQuest.

Employees of the Metcalf store have been telling customers about the closing this week but Whole Foods officials would not confirm the closing until Friday and then provided few details.

In fiscal year 2016 ending in September, the Austin, Texas-based company had sales of about $16 billion and more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including area stores at 14615 W. 119th St. in Olathe and 6621 W. 119th St. in Overland Park. It has about 87,000 employees.

But it is increasingly facing competition from specialty grocer store chains and mass marketers, including the rapidly expanding Sprouts Farmers Market and discounters such as Wal-Mart.

Whole Foods also recently introduced a value-focused small-store concept called 365 by Whole Foods Market.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC

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