One day after the grand opening of Whole Foods Market in western Henrico County, the grocer’s chief competitor, Halfassed Foods, has announced plans to open a store next month directly across the street.
Unlike Whole Foods, Missouri-based Halfassed features a wide array of overly-ripened fruits and vegetables, its semi-popular “Corner Cutters” discounted items, and a full line of traditional groceries – that is, should store managers make sure everything is in kept in stock.
In addition, the national grocery chain’s line of organic foods and eco-friendly products are not guaranteed to be organic or eco-friendly, Halfassed Foods executive vice president Jim Difiglia said.
“Above anything though, we pride ourselves on customer service,” he said. “For instance, should a customer need assistance getting their groceries out to their car, well then, like, I guess we can do that, if they really, really, really needed it.”
While Whole Foods will employ upwards of 140 workers at its West Broad Street location, Halfassed will hire “maybe 30 workers, at most,” Difiglia said. The employees are expected to arrive at work no later than hour after opening, he noted, or just whenever they feel like getting around to it.
Retail analyst Steven M. Fountaine said that while Whole Foods will face strong competition from the likes of nearby grocers such as Ukrop’s, Kroger, Wal-Mart and Tom Leonard’s, Halfassed Foods could strike a chord with consumers who are looking to pinch pennies in a weakened economy.
“People are shopping around for deals, and if that means walking on floors that aren’t expected to ever be cleaned or using self-checkout counters that consistently breakdown, well then so be it,” said Fountaine, based in Alexandria. “Thankfully though, the way the customer service industry has been heading these days, transitioning to shopping at Halfassed shouldn’t be too hard.”