Whole Foods Market® (Nasdaq: WFM) opens its doors in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood on Wednesday, March 25 at 8am. The over 42,000 square-foot store at 1 N. Halsted is the third of seven Whole Foods Markets slated to open in the Chicagoland area during 2015, and the 22nd location in the Chicago market.

“We are thrilled to open a store in one of Chicago’s culinary centers,” says Jorge Trejo, Store Team Leader, Whole Foods Market West Loop. “We’re so pleased to join one of Chicago’s most diverse, thriving, and food-focused neighborhoods.”

The new Whole Foods Market features a variety of beverage and prepared food options as well as classic Whole Foods Market favorites for shoppers to choose from. These include:

• Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods such as: In-house Made Pita, Chicken Shawarma, Fresh-Fried Falafels, Tabbouleh, Fattoush, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush
• Customized Neapolitan-style individual pizzas
• In-house smoked meats
• Fresh baklava from Atopolis
• Specialty tea from Rishi
• A 24-tap bar with a variety of unique and hard-to-find beers
• A “beer engine,” featuring Begyle’s Hophazardly, a special to the store
• A list of 25 different whiskeys and two specialty cocktails from world-renown mixologist and Chicago native Charles Joly

To celebrate opening day, Whole Foods Market will host its version of a ribbon cutting called a “Bread-Breaking Ceremony” with Whole Foods Market Team Members and West Loop neighbors beginning at 7:45 AM. Doors and shopping officially begin at 8:00 AM. The first 500 customers through the doors will receive a Whole Foods Market Gift Card with a mystery value between $5 and $50. One customer will receive a $500 gift card.

Shoppers will be delighted by the bright, colorful and delicious Responsibly Grown Produce. Whole Foods Market recently launched a Responsibly Grown Produce rating system that uses well-regarded scientific input to rate produce and flowers as “Good,” “Better” or “Best.” The scientific input assesses growing practices that impact human health and the environment. This new system continues Whole Foods Market’s commitment to providing healthy, fresh food without the expense to nature.

This level of commitment and transparency extends into other departments as well. Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards for food prohibits artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. Products on the shelves are evaluated on ingredients, but also ideology, philosophy, proper labeling and careful evaluation as part of a commitment made to customers to build a business with high standards that flow through all aspects of the company. These commitments include:

• Prepared Foods: The Prepared Foods Department’s grab-and-go meals and diverse food venues are all made with high quality natural and organic ingredients.
• Meat: All beef, pork, chicken and turkey in the Meat Department comes from farms that have achieved certification in the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-StepTM Animal Welfare Rating Program.
• Seafood: The Seafood Counter has the highest Quality Standards for seafood in the business by working with scientists, fishermen, government agencies and environmental organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council to gather information about aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries, ensuring customers can make the best environmental choices when purchasing seafood.

Whole Foods Market’s dedication to quality and service extends beyond the brick and mortar of the store.

“Whole Foods Market is devoted to serving the community in every way. We strive for lasting relationships with local organizations, working closely with them long before opening day,” adds Trejo. 

Whole Foods Market’s new store in the West Loop, will also empower Team Members and customers to support local causes. In celebration of opening week, the store will hold five “Days of Community Giving,” where one percent of each day’s net sales will be donated to a Chicago-based organization including National Hellenic Museum, Greater Chicago Food Depository, New Leash on Life, Merit School of Music, and Chicago Artists Coalition. 

Another way Whole Foods Market supports the community is with the One Dime at a Time program. The program provides an incentive to customers who bring their own bags for shopping. At the register, customers will have the option to receive a 10-cent per bag refund as cash back off their receipt or they can choose to donate it to that month’s selected charity organization. Whole Foods Market West Loop’s first One Dime at a Time recipient will be Skinner Park Advisory Council.