Kimberton Whole Foods, an organic grocery store with four locations in the region, plans to open its fifth store in Malvern.
Developer Eli Kahn confirmed Friday that the business will lease space in the East King Street redevelopment complex slated to open in summer 2013.
The store will be 5,000 square feet and will employ about 10 to 20 people, according to Kimberton Whole Foods owner Terry Brett.
"We have heard really great things about the Malvern community," Brett said. "There seems to be a real identity about Malvern, and that's what's really exciting for us. We want to be a local community store. We want to know your name when you come in, like Cheers."
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Kimberton Whole Foods started out as a 400-square-foot farm store on Seven Stars Farm in 1986, and today has locations in Kimberton, Douglassville, Downingtown and Ottsville. The store sells Seven Stars Farm organic yogurt, one of the most popular farm-produced organic yogurts in the country, Brett said.
A big part of the company's mission is to advance the cause of healthy eating while supporting local agriculture, Brett said. He's a supporter of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and would be interested in working with Malvern area growers.
In addition to organic produce, the store will sell chemical-free supplements and health and beauty products.
"Right now we have 80 local vendors, and purchase $1.3 million dollars in local products [annually]," Brett said.
Though the new location will be configured similarly to the other four stores, the expansion represents a big change in the company's strategy.
"This is the first time moving towards Whole Foods and Trader Joe's," Brett said. "We generally move in the direction away from them, to areas where they aren't."
Kimberton Whole Foods in Malvern will also be competing with a considerable organic produce section in Wegmans. The bold move is the result of confidence based on strong sales and increased brand recognition.
"They do a great job, but we've got double-digit growth this year," Brett said. "Business is really good."
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