Over the past several months customers have likely noticed changes in Bedford’s Whole Foods Market, and from 11 am until 3 pm on Saturday, April 27, the store will celebrate its Grand Reopening.
Because April is Earth Month, tomorrow’s celebration will highlight the ways customers can make Earth friendly shopping choices – from buying local or organic products to choosing items with recycled packaging. There will be seedlings in honor of Arbor Day (a gift to the first 100 customers) and then packets of sunflower seeds given to other customers throughout the day.
There will be a variety of cooking demonstrations; gift baskets with products from local vendors to be raffled; and lots of vendor samples though out the store, including American Flatbread samples prepared in the wood-fired oven that the company will set up in the store’s parking lot.
Bedford’s Whole Foods Market has “grown” within its original footprint through a creative re-use of existing space. Second floor administrative offices have been relocated to allow a ceiling that’s now open to the rafters in the front of the store, and the community meeting room has become an expanded coffee bar and seating area with WiFi capacity and a children’s eating area. New, more efficient store fixtures offer up additional space.
According to Bedford’s Marketing Team Leader and Community Liaison Carol Ortenberg, many people contributed to the new look. Whole Foods Market maintains a regional design team, and each store has its own graphic artists (Bedford has a pair!) who create all the signage and store murals, being careful to use environmentally friendly media, such as reusable chalk board price signs.
The Bedford store’s Team Leader Todd Johnson notes that the store’s lighting has been completely changed to use LED bulbs that will last from five to ten years, changing the store’s energy consumption along with its appearance. “We put time a lot of time and attention into creating [an environment] that’s superior to many of our competitors,” said Johnson. “And if we’re going to invest that much time and energy, lighting becomes really important. The customer ought to be able to see what makes Whole Foods Market unique and special.”
There are several new areas to explore:
- Immediately inside the entrance, customers will find freshly-prepared delights like guacamole and salsa, along with fresh juices being squeezed right there, in real time. The juices are raw, not from concentrate or pasteurized, and made from organic ingredients when available. While their shelf-life may be shorter, their flavor is much more intense, and their nutrient quotient is much higher because there is no added sugar.
- The new cooking station is situated under a red canopy, between the produce and meat departments. It will be staffed for some part of every shopping day when Healthy Eating and Cooking Specialists will highlight preparation methods and newly-introduced foods. And even when active cooking isn’t going on, these team members will often be available to be helpful to individual customers in the store. “Our Healthy Eating and Culinary Specialists can take you on themed tours of the store to find items that meet your special dietary needs or teach you about their favorite culinary techniques and products,” said Ortenberg.
- On the other side of the store, the variety of prepared foods has increased with a new made-to-order burrito/sandwich bar, and four new “hot bars,” including a Dim Sum and rice bar, an expanded salad bar and more soup options. The new and larger coffee bar also serves fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies.
“As word’s getting out about our new renovations, new faces are showing up,” said Ortenberg. Whole Foods Market in Bedford serves not only the town but our region, with customers traveling substantial distances to shop here.
“A lot of the changes we make are about the community,” said Johnson. “We want the community to come and have a good time, and also get great food.” With cooking classes and events for kids, this is about to be a sure thing.
Whole Foods Market’s corporate culture
Whole Foods Market’s corporate culture supports its employees and reaches out to the community.
Several Bedford team members have been part of the store through all of its iterations—beginning with the Purity Supreme so many years ago— and have great relationships with the customers. The company promotes from within, so if team members choose, they have the ability to grow through in-store training and to further develop their potential through Career Development (CD) programs. Indeed, Bedford’s regional president, along with Todd Johnson and Carol Ortenberg, rose through the ranks to their current positions.
And Whole Foods Market gives back to its community in very specific ways:
- On 5% Days, a fortunate non-profit organization receives 5% of that day’s store receipts. The most recent recipient was the Center for Parents and Teachers which Whole Foods Market selected in part because they support a wide range of towns in the area.
- There’s an online donation request link at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com where the community can request support, such as food or supplies, for events and organizations.
- Nationally, Whole Foods Market funds the Whole Kids foundation which has created salad bars in schools and supported vegetable gardens in elementary schools (including one in Bedford).
“I hope that people feel good about shopping here; and not just because they are getting a great product. But also because they know that when they spend money in our store, it’s not just going to Whole Foods’ bottom line, it’s also going back into their communities and to the organizations that matter most to them” —Todd Johnson, Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in Bedford