ATLANTA and Charleston S.C. (April 27, 2004) Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI) today announced grand opening event details for its first South Carolina store, which will open in the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant on May 19. Bringing an estimated 120 jobs to Mount Pleasant, the new 46,000-square-foot store will open in Patriot's Plaza, 923 Houston Northcutt Blvd., on U.S. Highway 17.

The opening week will commence with a Lowcountry Food Bank Benefit on May 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (additional information available by calling 843-971-7240). The store will officially open and welcome the community at a Grand Opening Bread Breaking ceremony on May 19 at 10 a.m., with weekend celebration events including cooking demonstrations, activities for families and children, and abundant food samples set for May 21, 22 and 23 in the store and the shopping center parking lot.

“Becoming a part of the greater Charleston area is exciting to Whole Foods Market because of the city's sophisticated food culture,” said Ken Meyer, president of Whole Foods Market's South Region. “Many people in Charleston share our passion for fresh, delicious, high quality natural food, making Whole Foods Market a perfect fit.”

A true food aficionado's paradise with the convenience of one-stop shopping, Whole Foods Market offers culinary treasures from the finest authentic artisans and renowned purveyors of produce, meat, seafood, cheese, coffee, and baked goods. All products are free of preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and flavors.

Whole Foods Market's produce selection will offer Charlestonians not only an abundant variety of the freshest organic produce and the best locally grown fruits and vegetables but also exotic items grown around the world. Produce is hand-selected and stacked daily to ensure fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness. A 40-foot seafood counter will showcase fresh seafood from the Carolina and Georgia shores — and the world. Whole Foods Market is the only supermarket to own and operate its own dockside fishing and processing facilities in Pigeon Cove, Mass.

The store's meat department will feature all natural beef, pork, poultry, house-made sausages, specialty meats and a steakhouse-style showcase for dry-aged meats, with specialists who have expertise in the old-fashioned art of custom butchering. Whole Foods Market's natural meat is raised to the highest standards. The company closely monitors how animals are raised to guarantee the beef and poultry are without added hormones and antibiotics and never fed animal by-products. All products comply with strict animal welfare and food safety quality standards.

Recognizing Charleston's sophistication as a wine market, Whole Foods Market will also feature an extensive wine collection staffed by knowledgeable team members. Other specialty offerings include a cheese display featuring hundreds of varieties as well as unique artisanal cheeses, an antipasti and olive bar, and a kitchen and tabletop shop.

An extensive prepared foods area will offer a wide variety of meal solutions, from full meals to side dishes, fresh brick oven pizza, a salad bar and grab-and-go items. For a quick lunch or dinner, a café area offers seating for 50 indoors and outdoor seating for 70. Whole Foods Market's bakery will offer freshly baked artisan breads, cakes, cookies, biscotti, muffins, tea breads, scones, focaccia and pastries.

Additionally, Whole Body™ at Whole Foods Market will feature the largest selection of high quality natural and organic body care items and cosmetics in the Charleston area, as well as nutritional supplements and vitamins. All products are made with the highest quality natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals and unnecessary fillers.

“Charleston shoppers will find knowledgeable, attentive team members and a variety of personal services including catering, summer home and boat provisions, and regularly scheduled tours for customers new to natural foods,” said Store Team Leader Paul Harty. “We go to extraordinary lengths to make sure our customers are satisfied and delighted.”

“Whole Foods Market strives to be an active member of the community wherever we go, and we are very excited about getting involved with the vibrant community in and around Charleston,” said Cheryl Galway, regional marketing director for Whole Foods Market. “One Whole Foods Market tradition is to host quarterly Five Percent Days, and we donate five percent of a day's sales to a local nonprofit group to fulfill our service mission of 'Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet™.'” Individuals or organizations are invited to submit nominations through the store's customer service area.