NEW YORK (February 15, 2001) Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ WFMI), the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, announced the opening of its first Manhattan store today in one of the city's hottest neighborhoods. The new supermarket — located at 250 Seventh Avenue at 24th Street in Chelsea — brings its trademark assets to the Big Apple by featuring highest quality, mouth-watering foods that are free from artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings or preservatives; outstanding customer service; and contemporary décor, which all add up to a pleasantly atypical grocery shopping outing.

New Yorkers will now be able to enjoy the Whole Foods Market shopping experience where an enticing selection of top quality produce, meat, seafood, cheese, coffee, fish, prepared foods, baked goods and are among the standard fare. The 30,000 square foot store, which will be crowned the flagship of the 20 year-old company, occupies the storefront of the historic Mercantile Building in the heart of Chelsea.

Whole Body at Whole Foods Market, also opening today, is a separate 3,000 square foot extension of the store, next door to the supermarket (260 Seventh Avenue at 25th Street) featuring hundreds of natural beauty and nutrition items including vitamins, supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, cosmetics and body care products.

David Lannon, Vice President, Northeast Region Whole Foods Market, says the store will fill an important void for New Yorkers. “We will bring to the world's greatest city the largest and finest selection of natural and organic foods packed in taste and flavor, and a sparkling environment in which to shop,” said Lannon. “All of us at Whole Foods Market look forward to the opportunity to satisfy the most sophisticated and demanding consumers.”

Personal attention, usually synonymous with small neighborhood markets, is a priority at Whole Foods Market, which currently has 120 stores in 22 states. The attentive and knowledgeable staff of the Chelsea store is another important component to the Whole Foods Market shopping experience.

Otto Leuschel, Store Team Leader at the Chelsea location, has been with the company for ten years and he says the store represents a new frontier in supermarket shopping. “While New York has some of the best food stores in the world, we are striving to create something different here,” says Leuschel, who will offer customers zoned delivery service from 96th Street to Battery Park. “Simply put, we offer great food, the most enjoyable environment in which to shop and professional, courteous service.”