Whole Foods Market® revs up to open in Motor City
World’s largest natural and organic grocer brings fresh, healthy, affordable options and community gathering place to Detroit
DETROIT (June 5, 2013) – Whole Foods Market opens a 21,506-square-foot store today in Detroit at the intersection of John R. Street and Mack Avenue.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow will join company leaders in presenting the highly anticipated store to the community at an 8:30 a.m. bread-breaking ceremony. Doors open at 9 a.m.
“I can’t describe the pride and joy I feel when I look at this store and think of how the community has come together to make it happen. I’ve been giving advance tours to curious residents and talking with our team members, and on both sides people are supercharged with excitement,” said Larry Austin, store team leader. “So, come on in, Detroit! We’re here to satisfy and delight you with fresh, healthy and affordable food. Tell us what you think and contribute to our community giving days – we even invite you to help decide the types of donations we’re going to make.”
Whole Foods Market has teamed up with local schools and arts groups to offer a full day of outdoor performances today as shoppers explore a myriad of natural, organic and local options inside. The entertainment lineup includes the Detroit School of Arts Youth Jazz Ensemble, Nanaou Djiapo African Drum & Dance, DJ John Jammin Collins, the Spain Middle School Choir, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, and Ballet Folklorico. The interactive experience also includes videos from Dark Rye, Whole Foods Market’s online magazine whose June issue is dedicated to the Motor City, and free rides to the store from the Detroit Bus Company. A full schedule of opening day activities is available on the store website: wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/detroit.
As part of Whole Foods Market’s commitment to community partnerships, the Detroit store is working with three local charities on opening day: the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), which provides support to Detroit’s homeless; Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE), which helps victims of domestic violence; and Gleaners Community Food Bank, an organization that brings food to the hungry in southeast Michigan. Upon checkout, shoppers can vote to determine the type of donation each charity will receive. One will earn 5 percent of the five Michigan stores’ profits on a future date, one will benefit from the “one dime at a time” program from all five Michigan stores from July through September, and one will receive a donation of $250.
Whole Foods Market in Detroit
Whole Foods Market is dedicated to providing communities across the nation with fresh, healthy, natural and organic food. The company has been looking to open a store in Detroit for several years, an interest spurred by growth in urban farming, food artisans and local producers.
“The opening of the first Whole Foods Market in Detroit is a game changer for our city,” said Bing. “Not only does it offer central-city residents more choices and more convenience for grocery shopping, it also proves that Detroit is an attractive destination for national retailers. I appreciate the fact that the leaders of Whole Foods involved the entire community in the planning and execution of this development. This is a true community partnership, and we’re proud to welcome Whole Foods Market to Detroit.”
As part of its commitment to the Detroit community, Whole Foods Market is supporting Eastern Market’s renovation of Shed 5. Residents will be able to provide ongoing feedback regarding the store as well.
“We’ve worked toward this day for nearly five years. We’re inspired by what Detroiters are doing for this great city,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “They are our partners, our neighbors, our team members, and our friends. We couldn’t be prouder or happier to be part of the mix.”
Inside the store
Whole Foods Market Detroit is designed with local elements.
“This store celebrates this city, its rich history and its talented, community-minded residents,” said Austin. “We’ve incorporated reclaimed wood and signs into the design and invited local artists to contribute murals. We want all our shoppers to feel at home – welcome 100 percent of the time – and we want them to understand how much it means to us to serve them with a store in Motown.”
Local design elements
The new store features décor elements, including:
- Wood booths and salvaged brick at the entrance from Reclaimed Detroit
- Tables made from old car and truck hoods
- Motown records adorning register lights
- Reclaimed factory windows in the Prepared Foods department
- Antique Detroit signs re-fabricated by local artist Richard Gage
- Tilework in the cheese department by local artisans Mercury Mosaics.
Shoppers will also find local art near the store’s Community Room; Detroit’s own Elysia Vandenbussche created a tile mural replica of the city of Detroit, which calls attention to community issues like access to affordable food. The exterior of the store features four large murals by local artists Jerome Ferretti, Katherine Larson, Tylonn J. Sawyer and Mathew Sharum, who were selected from more than 100 entrants by a panel of 10 Detroiters.
Green design elements
Green store design elements include:
- 90 percent recycled structural steel
- Energy efficient glass
- Thermoplastic olefin white roof with high sustained reflectivity
- Highly efficient refrigeration to reduce the store’s carbon footprint
- LED lights in signage and frozen cases
- SLOAN® low-flow sensors in faucets and toilets
- Reclaimed produce bins
- Recycled tile and glass throughout the store
Inside the store, shoppers will find high quality natural and organic items, including the company’s private label, 365 Everyday Value™. In addition, the store brings Detroit’s best local products to shoppers, including:
- Taste Love Cupcakes
- Slow Jams
- Great Lakes Coffee
- Bhakati Chai Tea
- Moon River Soap Company
- Simply Suzanne Granola
- Amy’s Kitchen
- McClure’s Pickles
- Bon-A-Rose Food
- Ethel’s Edibles
- Metropolitan Baking Company
- Rumi’s Passion Gluten-Free Baker
- Siblini Bakery
- Al Dente Pasta Company
- Ellis Island Tea
- Red Pepper Deli
- Ageless Pantry
- Mama’s Sweet Side
- Max’s Granola
- Naturalicious Hair Care
- Painexx Corporation
- Westwind Milling
- Teta Foods
- Moomtaz Shea Butter
Additional highlights include:
- Community Room – a public space for Detroiters to gather and dine. This will also be home to Healthy Eating workshops, chef demonstrations, children’s activities, and special events for the store.
- Full Service Smoothie Bar – near the entrance of the store, fresh-to-order smoothies available all day.
- Artisan Bakery – a wide selection of locally made Avalon International Breads, including hearth-baked breads, grab-and-go items, and bagged and sliced breads. This department will also feature Whole Foods Market brownies, cakes, fresh-baked pies, cookies, cupcakes and gluten-free, raw and vegan treats.
- Prepared Foods – a selection of foods hand-crafted by a team of in-house chefs. Specialties include a daily selection of soups, a salad bar, and an array of sandwiches and pizzas. The store’s commitment to offering healthy foods will also be featured with nutrient-rich items like quinoa, brown rice, and kale.
- Seafood – a seafood counter featuring a variety of fresh and frozen selections, as well as marinades, sauces, seasonings and herbs. The store will carry fresh Whitefish and Lake Trout from the Great Lakes as well. All wild-caught seafood sold at the store comes from fisheries certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, or fisheries rated green or yellow by the Blue Ocean Institute. All farmed seafood meets the company’s leading aquaculture standards, which prohibit the use of antibiotics and establish guidelines for environmentally responsible fish farms.
- Meat – fresh counter with special offerings, including smoked meats, grab-and-go meats and house-made sausages. The store’s professional butchers can recommend the best cut for any budget, and will custom cut to order. The majority of the ground beef sold at the store is ground in-house, daily. Whole Foods Market’s quality standards for meat prohibit antibiotics or added growth hormones.* All beef, pork, chicken and turkey carried in the fresh and pre-packaged cases at all Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S., comes from farms that are rated according to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating program.
- Beer and Wine – a large wine and beer selection featuring local and international offerings.
- Bulk Cooking Section – some 200 bulk food items, including grains, flours, nuts, spices, oils and vinegar. Additionally, this department offers a grind-your-own-nut-butter station, where customers can grind peanut or almond butters. To reduce packaging waste, customers are welcome to bring reusable containers.
- Whole Body – an extensive selection of mineral makeup and premium quality facial care products, organic apparel and sustainable accessories, best-selling books on health and diet, and healthy eating cookbooks, and a wide variety of supplements to support a healthy lifestyle.
- Store Tours – shopping tours tailored to special diets, such as gluten-free living, and store tours for parents, as well tours focused on budget-friendly shopping. Private tours can be arranged on request.
- Health, Wellness and Food – Whole Foods Market is committed to sharing healthy eating education with shoppers and community members. Dr. Akua Woolbright, Whole Foods Market’s Health & Wellness Educator, will lead workshops meant to inspire and empower people to make the best dietary choices for their lifestyle.
- Community Giving Days – at least four times a year Whole Foods Market sets aside a day on which 5 percent of the day's profit is contributed to a local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Opening day will establish the first 5 Percent Day recipient based on customer votes (COTS, SAFE or Gleaners).
- Store Dining and Wi-Fi – free Wi-Fi and dining space inside and outside.
- One Dime at a Time – when customers bring their own grocery bags, they have the option of receiving a 10-cent refund (per bag) or donating the money to a selected charity. The first nonprofit beneficiary will be decided on opening day (COTS, SAFE or Gleaners).
Whole Foods Market Detroit
115 Mack Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
Tel. (313) 576-5300
Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sun.
Store Team Leader: Larry Austin
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison.
Co-Chief Executive Officer
With a long and varied entrepreneurial history in natural foods ranging from retailer to farmer to consultant, Walter Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 and in 2010, was named co-CEO along with John Mackey at which time he joined the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors.