Author: Marianne Wilson
Source: CSA The Business of Retail
Whole Foods Market pulled out all the stops for its 500th store, opening a 70,000-sq.-ft. flagship in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta that is designed to do a lot more than just sell groceries.
Located in Related Group’s Icon Midtown residential development, the four-level store features four fast-casual eateries — including a rooftop venue — and more than 1,500 local items from 250 suppliers, many new to Whole Foods Market.
Along with an expansive selection of foods and beverages, the new Whole Foods will offer community and wellness events and a “ food hall experience” that consists of four dining destinations offering distinct menus and curated selections of locally sourced beer and wine. The destinations include Canopy Court, which is located on a rooftop terrace with skyline views. Outfitted with stadium seating, it offers games and TVs, with a food truck that serves an assortment of wines, local beers, and a rotating food menu.
The store’s 14th Street Bar has indoor seating for 111 customers and includes a private outdoor dining balcony overlooking the street with seating for 28. It also boasts a screened porch with comfortable seating and heaters for colder days. Customers can order from a selection of wines, local beers, and soft drinks.
The other eateries include a full-service coffee and espresso bar whose name, Capital Commons, is a tribute to its location in the state’s capital. It also serves wine, local beers, baked goods, sandwiches and more.
The fourth eatery, Farm Burger, is due to open in early summer. Its menu focuses on 100% locally sourced, grass-fed and grass-finished beef burgers, with other items including chicken burgers, vegan options, farm-fresh salads, and children’s fare. It will have indoor seating for 86 people and outdoor seating for 28 people. Farm Burger is part of the Friends of Whole Foods Market program, in which the supermarket chain partners with outside culinary and lifestyle brands to bring shoppers unique experiences in Whole Foods stores.
In addition to the dining options, the new store features an assortment of hot and cold prepared food bars, including build-your-own avocado toast and lettuce wrap bars, a skillet bar offering items such as fried chicken, wings and fried fish, self-serve pizza, a sandwich station, seasonally rotating culinary pop-up stations and more. Other store features include a detox juice bar, 150 bins of bulk scoop items, a European-inspired floral shop and an in-store “fruit and vegetable butcher” offering cut-to-order fruits and vegetables.
Whole Foods Atlanta will also host weekly culinary, health and wellness and social community events, including open mic nights for local musicians and comedians, meet-the-maker events featuring the owners and artisans behind the products sold in-store, a monthly artist gallery night featuring local artists, and rooftop fitness including Zumba, yoga, and cycling. Another event, The Chef’s Table, will offer one-on-one cooking experiences alongside local chefs and farmers.
“Whole Foods Market Midtown will be a true gathering space for the community,” said Bobby Turner, president of the South Region at Whole Foods Market. “We worked hard to create a place that offers our neighbors a destination to get together, enjoy great food and connect with members of the local community through a variety of culinary, wellness and cultural events.”