Merchants in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood have mixed feelings about an American chain becoming the first to claim store space in the redeveloping Lansdowne Park.
Whole Foods, an organic grocer with operations across the U.S., U.K., and Canada, said Wednesday it intends to open a 40,000 square foot store at Lansdowne — off Bank Street just north of the Rideau Canal.
Amanda Watkins, who is a manager at the nearby Wild Oat bakery, said a Whole Foods would change the business reality for specialized neighbourhood stores like hers.
"Because they're a bigger box store they may have access to cheaper products because they can buy bulk, which is not something we're capable of doing," Watkins said, adding it may make it harder for her business to be competitive.
"But we're going to be," she said.
Stéphane Sauvé, manager of the Glebe Meat Market, said he's worried about the impact Lansdowne will have on the Glebe's streetscape.
"I'm not that scared of competing against Whole Foods," Sauvé said.
"I'm just scared of what's going to happen to the street if it gets decimated and suddenly there's bars and tattoo parlours coming in … I'm not going to be in a good location."
The Ottawa Farmer's Market is also expected to find a permanent home when the site is redeveloped.
Whole Foods said its tentative opening date is some time in 2014.