Business owner skeptical of Whole Foods' future

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 07:53:03-05

After watching his sports training business grow from the ground up, Joseph DiPietro says he can’t help but get emotional thinking about the future of his gym.

“You know I understand its corporate America but I’m moving on to another place but this is part of my soul,” DiPietro told 7 Eyewitness News.

DiPietro Says in the seven years since his business moved into the Northtown Plaza things have changed, especially after it was announced in 2015 that the high-end grocery store Whole Foods would become the plaza’s newest tenant.

“Tomato Pie was here a long time they just moved out, Carolina furniture moved out. The new company wants us out. They want it a high end plaza."

In December 7 Eyewitness News was told that the $11 million Whole Foods project would open in “mid 2017” with developer W.S.  Development estimating the shell alone of the building will take six months to complete and the interior another 10 months.

But construction can’t begin until the proper permits are secured, which according to a member of the Amherst Planning Board has yet to happen.

“The next step would be to pull a building permit,” Gary Black, Assistant Planning Director for the Town of Amherst said. “The last time I spoke with the building department, which I think was last week, they had not yet made the application for the building permit. So the ball is in their court at this point.”

The mystery surrounding a construction timeline have some plaza shoppers concerned that what few businesses are left may not survive.

“Well what the heck is going on here?” shopper Alyssa Whitehead said. “You’ve slowly seen each business be completely taken out of the plaza and you have no clue what’s coming up next.”

But the owner of Cutting Edge knows what’s next for his business. He plans to relocate but he says he hope those left in the plaza are as lucky.

“There are pros and cons to it and it’s a sad thing but it I just hope everybody lands on their feet and can keep feeding their families,” DiPetro said.