Nearby businesses concerned about parking as KCMO’s new Whole Foods set to open

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In just two days, Whole Foods will open its doors near the UMKC campus, and besides bringing a brand-new market to the community, it's also bringing some concerns.

Whole Foods Market closed an Overland Park store on Sunday, but it's opening a new location in the Brookside area this week. This is the company's first store in Kansas City, Mo.

The new 48,200-square-foot store on 51st Street opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday and will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily after that.

More than 100 local suppliers will provide more than 1,000 local products from both Kansas and Missouri for the new store. You'll also find a mac and cheese bar, pizza by the slice, a seafood bar and cold pressed juices. Or grab a cup of coffee at the coffee bar or one of 22 beers on tap.

“It`s definitely a great community market," said Roy Mahan, the new Whole Foods store team leader. "We have the city close by, so we`re able to serve all aspects of our great city."

But some of the people who live and work around the new Whole Foods are concerned about traffic and parking with the new market.

Whole Foods said more than 170 new parking spaces were added. But nearby businesses hope Whole Foods customers don't use their limited parking spaces to shop at the new market.

“It did present some challenges with regard to parking and other things related to construction along the way,” said Donnie Quinn, the manager of Kin Lin Chinese Restaurant.

Businesses near the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus said for the last three years since the groundbreaking of Whole Foods the parking situation in the area has been brutal.

“A lot of customers would have problems parking," Quinn said. "There were a few times utilities were cut. There`s been a few bumps in the road along the way."

Quinn said the construction was a disaster for business.

“They were coming in here and complaining. Or we know people who would come in here daily, and we wouldn't see them for six months," Quinn said. "And they would come back in and say, 'well, it's been six months because we weren't able to find a parking spot, and we didn't want to have to walk five minutes.' There`s been times people would have to circle around for 20 minutes just to get in here.”

But construction is complete, and Whole Foods market is set to open Wednesday. The company promises plenty of parking for everyone.

“I have over 170 spaces for our team member and public use," Mahan said. "We do have security that is going to be monitoring the spaces."

Area business owners said despite the potential parking issues, they hope the new store will be good for business in the long run.

“Bringing new people to this area that haven`t seen us before,” Quinn said. “We`re excited moving forward. We`re excited to work with Whole Foods, and we`ve met some of their workers. We`ve had the pleasure of serving them. They seem to be great people, and we look forward to developing a longstanding relationship. We`re optimistic at this point in time. As Whole Foods opens, time will tell.”

Everyone is invited to the grand opening Wednesday. There will be plenty of food samples.