ATLANTA (September 28, 2005). Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI) today breaks bread with the community and officially opens the company's first store in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood.
The new store officially opens at 9 a.m. with a Whole Foods Market “Bread Breaking Ceremony,” a twist on the traditional ribbon cutting event, featuring guest of honor Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition.
Creating 270 new jobs, the new store will welcome customers to 53,000 square feet of retail space, the largest Whole Foods Market in Georgia, at 77 West Paces Ferry Road NW on the corner of West Paces Ferry and Paces Ferry Place. Whole Foods Market is the anchor for the Buckhead Marketplace shopping center, walkable from Buckhead's central business district, Buckhead West Village, the Buckhead Plaza office complex and the Atlanta History Center.
The Buckhead Whole Foods Market includes several innovations:
- Largest produce department in the Whole Foods Market system at 7,674 square feet, featuring more than 700 items on a daily basis
- Service juice bar, offering 12 varieties of fruit, vegetable and wheat grass juices as well as custom-juicing
- Candy island with chocolate fountain and in-store-made truffle station
- Meat smoker with fresh-cooked barbeque hot bar featuring a variety of smoked meats available by the pound, from pork to brisket to wings
- 50-foot fresh seafood counter with built-in cooking demonstration station
- 40-item hot foods bar and two 50-item cold salad bars
- Caesar salad station serving grilled salmon, chicken and beef caesars
- Georgia's largest fresh cut flower selection
- Party planning, catering and concierge service desk
- Fresh, handmade burrito bar
- Olive oil and vinegar tasting bar
Like Whole Foods Market's newest Atlanta store at 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown, the Buckhead location features the company's latest innovations in product and presentation, including legacies of Atlanta's three Harry's Farmers Market stores, which Whole Foods Market acquired in November 2001. The Buckhead location will include customer favorites such as a dry-aged beef case, sushi station, 1,500-square-foot wine department with sommelier, large selection of international and micro-brewed beers, and Atlanta's largest Whole Body/Whole Baby nutrition and body care department.
The store anticipates another popular feature will be the store's 58-seat indoor-outdoor cafe. Through a new partnership with the Atlanta History Center (www.atlantahistorycenter.com), the Whole Foods Market cafe area will include a permanent display highlighting Atlanta history. The Whole Foods Market cafe will also display original artwork by local and Southern artists in a special gallery space created for the store. The gallery will open on Sept. 28 with a show and sale of Southern folk art benefiting the North Carolina-based Folk Art Foundation.
The Buckhead store also includes parking capacity for 180 vehicles, featuring an above-ground open lot and a new underground parking area on the Paces Ferry Place side of the property. The underground area provides customers with weather-free access to the store, and oversized elevators for the parking facility are designed to accommodate shopping carts. Customers will have access to the parking areas from three streets: West Paces Ferry, Paces Ferry Place and Irby Avenue.Following the bread breaking ceremony, grand opening activities will continue with special free samples, in-store chef demonstrations, classes and events for all ages from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 “grand opening weekend,” including a special Buckhead West Village “Block Party” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 1 featuring Whole Foods Market-catered “party stops” at many neighboring shops. Details will be posted at www.wholefoodsmarket.com in the store location section of the site. The store phone number is 404-324-4100.
“Buckhead residents and visitors are in for a treat when they experience this new store, which includes many customer amenities inspired by our new landmark store in Whole Foods Market's hometown, Austin, Texas,” said Scott Allshouse, regional president for Whole Foods Market. “The Whole Foods Market experience provides guests with something for all five senses.”
“Whole Foods Market has an excellent reputation,” said Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition. “The store will be well received in Buckhead and is a perfect neighborhood addition – when I tell people about the new Buckhead Whole Foods Market everyone is very excited about it.”
Store Team Leaders
Omar Gaye, a 13-year team member, was named Store Team Leader for the new Buckhead location. The main leadership team for the store also includes Assistant Store Team Leaders Claire Banks and Jeff Gonzales; Bakery Team Leader A.J. Souza; Customer Service Team Leader Abdoulie Jobe; Grocery Team Leader Eddy Suantio; Meat Team Leader Scott Chansky; Prepared Foods Team Leader Brad Rubenstein; Produce Team Leader Kevin Clarke; Seafood Team Leader Errol Jones; Specialty Team Leader Peter LaFontaine; and Whole Body Team Leader Diane Johnson. Whole Foods Market's South region is home to stores located throughout Greater Atlanta, North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem) and South Carolina (Mt. Pleasant/Charleston) with new stores in development for Greenville, S.C., Duluth, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn. Whole Foods Market purchased Atlanta-based Harry's Farmers Market mega-stores and a warehouse and distribution center in 2001. Whole Foods Market is online at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.