Don’t chase brick and mortar from afar – grow it organically


For as long as I can remember, a numerous residents of Greater Lansing (including me) have been trying to coax Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or Plum Market to locate a store here. To date we have been greeted with a giant yawn of disinterest.

Well gang, if you cannot draw one of them here, then grow a better version organically right here.  That is exactly what has happened, as Horrock’s Farm Market has become the premier place to shop for healthy, organic, and fresh foods in Greater Lansing, as well as now in Battle Creek. The store was absolutely packed with shoppers from around the region Sayurday,  is stocked with an amazing selection of items, particularly fresh produce and organically grown food products for sale.


Several other smaller stores in the metropolitan area have taken up the slack as well, including Foods for Living, the East Lansing Food Co-op (elfco), and two Better Health Markets.


Throw in 17 area farmers markets (three of which are year-round) which provide multitudes of fresh produce and we are doing just fine without the big names, thank you very much. Sorry Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc., but it is your loss for not coming here.

View of Horrock's Lansing - Source:

While none of the local stores or markets have the name recognition or perhaps the pizzaz of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, all have been organically grown and become successful. The fact that their investments are local, expenditures are circulated through the local economy, and that these organizations give back to the local community are all economic benefits of growing from within instead of chasing brick and mortar dreams from afar. Kudos to each of these organizations for their current success and best wishes for continued positive vibes and growth.

Perhaps someday soon, other communities around the state and across the country will be wishing they had a Horrock’s Farm Market, a Foods for Living, a food co-op, or a Better Health Market of their own.

This entry was posted in cities, Cuisine, culture, diversity, economic gardening, entrepreneurship, environment, food systems, land use, placemaking, tourism, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t chase brick and mortar from afar – grow it organically

  1. This is exactly the right attitude, in my opinion. Too often, it seems, municipalities will bend over backward to attract as many name brand stores as possible, even going so far as to offer tax breaks that end up hurting the tax base. This thinking puts all the power in the hands of the large businesses, who can constantly threaten to relocate to more favorable areas if their demands are not met.

    But your approach turns the tables and recognizes that if an area is attractive to any business, it has intrinsic value and it should be up to the large companies to make concessions to show how their business will benefit be committed to staying in the community to gain access to the market.


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