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The Chicago Tribune reports that Mrs. Green's, the New York-based natural and organic food store, plans to take another stab at the Chicago marketplace, opening the first of what it hopes will be six stores there just months after it closed the one store it had in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

At the same time, Crain's Chicago Business reports that Whole Foods plans to open at least one of its "365" stores there - a smaller format that is said to be focused on lower prices and technology that will appeal to millennials.

The Tribune writes that Mrs. Green's hopes that "a new downsized store — think mini-Whole Foods — will resonate with upscale suburbanites."

"We're the anti-Mariano's," CEO Pat Brown tells the Tribune. "Mariano's are great stores. But sometimes you want convenience, you want to get to know the people you are buying your products from."

The story notes that Brown was not at Mrs. Green's when it opened its first Chicago store. "It's very difficult to get a second chance," he tells the Tribune. "But we're going to get one here, and we've got to make sure that we do it right."

Of course, Whole Foods has its own plans for a mini-Whole Foods store in Chicago.

According to Crain's, "In the first known Chicago-area deal for a 365 by Whole Foods Market, the Austin, Texas-based chain leased 30,000 square feet in the new Evergreen Plaza Mall that is under construction in Evergreen Park just outside Chicago, according to people familiar with the deal ... The mall will be an early testing ground for the 365 brand, which Whole Foods unveiled last year to help combat its 'Whole Paycheck' nickname, a reference to the upscale chain's prices."
KC's View:
I like Pat Brown a lot, and respect everything he was able to do at companies like HEB and New Seasons. That's a strong pedigree, and not to be underestimated. But ... I'm just not sure that taking aim at Mariano's is the way to go, especially because it isn't hard to imagine that with new ownership by Kroger, Mariano's could get a lot more aggressive. And the potential of a bunch of "365" stores there could raise competitive temperatures a lot higher.

It'll be tough to get traction in this environment. Pat Brown and his folks have their work cut out for them.