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Saturday, November 03, 2007 

Whole Foods "Emporium"

Holy mole. The new "Whole Paycheck" in Pasadena sounds MONSTEROUS.
Whole Foods Markets Inc. is opening a two-story emporium on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena on Wednesday that will be its largest store west of the Rockies. More than 50% larger than a typical Ralphs or Vons grocery, it will include a wine and tapas lounge, a massage room, an in-house fresh jam and jelly center, a sandwich bar and a seafood counter serving ceviche and shrimp cocktails.

...A key component of an aggressive Southern California expansion plan by the Austin, Texas-based company, the two-story building fills an entire block and has a quasi-industrial look of red brick, corrugated steel and glass panels. Its 300-space parking lot is below the store.

... Shoppers will enter through a 6,000-square-foot produce department stocked with 500 items and a juice bar.

...Health products, the massage room and 18 check stands fill up the remaining first-floor space.

A "carveyor" moves shopping carts between the first and second floors and runs parallel to the escalator.

The second level is essentially an upscale food court with Korean barbecue, vegetarian foods cooked to order, a meat carving station, sushi, organic sake and beer. Shoppers can eat in a sit-down area or proceed to browse the large wine department, butcher shop and the packaged goods aisles. - Latte Times
Get a load of some of their "offerings"
  • Wine and Tapas Lounge
  • Sandwich Bar
  • Seafood Bar
  • Freshly roasted nuts.
  • Italian Trattoria
  • Extensive wine department with more than 1,200 selections
  • Fresh donuts made by the hour
  • Tortilla machine making fresh corn and flour tortillas.
  • Eco-chic apparel, accessories and home goods.
  • Chocolate island with more than 50 chocolate choices and white and dark chocolate fountains.
  • Free wireless internet access.
  • Massage room, staffed with massage therapists.
  • "Veggie Grill" program with a daily rotation of fresh picked items, ready to be grilled to order by in-house chef.
  • A "Custom Catch" program where shoppers select any available seafood and customize with marinades or seasonings. Team members will cook to order: charbroil, bake, steam, deep fry, sauté, or smoked with an in-store seafood smoker.
LACurbed has more on this "ginormous" store.

Geee. Why even go home anymore. They even have their own blogs and podcasts. What next? Whole Foods Hotels for the whole Whole Foods shopping experience? Or, perhaps, their own weather station to warn of the various "micro-climates" within one of these monsters stores?

I'm hoping that their plans to infiltrate Santa Barbara are still on the "really smallish" side. And, watch out...they could be planning a monster store near you!

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Good grief. I thought their store near me was huge anyway...I can't imagine having a two story version. They're taking over the world! The one in Pasadena is about 25,000sq. feet larger than the one they're building near me. I don't know if they bother me or not. The prices bother me. And as long as I have the nearby farmers markets to purchase local organic produce, I'll continue to buy there instead of going chain store.

I am so in love with Whole Foods bakeries. They're like a "best-of" since they usually carry lots of stuff from local bakeries...but they also usually make a nice array of stuff in house too. Yum!

Whole Foods is planning to build a store at the corner of State and Hitchcock in Santa Barbara. If approved (and the city will approve it), this store will bring gridlock traffic to the Upper State Street neighborhood. Is having a Whole Foods worth the damage they bring?

My first response to "mega" anything is "YIKES!", and I hate to play Devil's advocate, but I wonder how the Whole Foods on State & Hitchcock is such a terrible thing. There is convenient freeway access via the Hope/La Cumbre offramp, so it would be easy to get to without ever traveling on State St. There are already Vons, Albertsons, Gelsons, and Trader Joes in the neighborhood. Will this really INCREASE traffic? Or will it just redistribute traffic? It does seem like saturation (close competition for Gelsons), but this is in an area with a lot of housing, so in some ways might this REDUCE traffic by folks who currently drive from Goleta or the upper State area up to Lazy Acres?

I'm not fond of corporate anything, but at some level I think if I worked in a place like this I would be like a kid on Christmas morning, with all the varieties of food, wine, cheese, bakeries, chefs, fish mongers, coffees, spices, etc. This comment probably doesn't make sense.

The one in Kensington is 3 stories. I like that idea of having a separate veggie grill. I've heard they will build more here. I wish they'd put one in my town; instead, we're getting a new (and very controversial) Tesco.

And if they open one, I will never set foot in it. Whole Foods closed the large, new Wild Oats nearest my home. I now have to go 6 miles out of my way to get ground bison at 1.00 a pound *more* than Wild Oats charged.

Whole Foods wholly screwed us.

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