VANCOUVER, British Columbia (August 3, 2004) Whole Foods Market, the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, will launch its first store in Western Canada on September 15, 2004 at the Village at Park Royal in West Vancouver. The store will offer Vancouver residents with a completely unique shopping experience by providing the highest quality, best tasting and most natural foods available in an atmosphere designed to delight the senses and make shopping fun.

Every product sold at the store will be natural, meaning it will not contain artificial preservatives, additives, colours, flavours or hydrogenated oils. A large component of the items in the store will be sourced locally to support Canadian farmers and food artisans as well as from around the world.

As part of Whole Foods Market's commitment to supporting the communities it serves, it will hire 125 talented local people to work in the store at a job fair being held at the Pan Pacific Hotel on August 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Whole Foods Market is excited to be expanding into Western Canada with the opening of our first store in West Vancouver,” said Ron Megahan, regional president of the Northern Pacific Region of Whole Foods Market. “We look forward to being an active participant in the local community and offering our customers high quality, great-tasting, natural and organic food.”

With a design inspired by the natural beauty of the West Coast, the 38,800-square-foot store will combine the expertise and advantages of a farmer's market, a specialty market, a grocer, an old fashioned butcher, a fishmonger, and a team of chefs making restaurant-quality take-out meals — all under one roof.

“We believe food in its purest state is the most nutritious and best tasting,” said Jeremy Knapman, Whole Foods Market store team leader for West Vancouver. “We also believe that shopping should be a pleasure, so we take great effort to please our customers with intoxicating sights, sounds and smells at every one of our stores.”

Visitors to the West Vancouver store will be greeted by luscious, colourful, natural produce hand-stacked in awe-inspiring geometric displays. The airy, welcoming layout will encourage strolling among the store's many features, including a charcuterie filled with exotic meats, bakery offering breads and pastries made on-site, a Whole Body department with all-natural cosmetics and herbal health products and a specialty cheese counter displaying gourmet cheeses from around the world. For those looking for a snack, the prepared foods section will offer wood-oven thin crust pizza, tandoori dishes, sushi and a salad bar along with an outdoor patio. All this and more will be supported by Whole Foods Market's exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful team members.

“Whole Foods Market's success is dependent on the collective energy and commitment of our team members,” said Knapman. “We're very excited to be hiring 125 people from throughout the Lower Mainland to join our team. We offer competitive wages, reward results and innovation and provide opportunities for personal growth.”

Founded in 1980, Whole Foods Market is a company with a conscience. The company's goal is to share its enthusiasm for the freshest, highest quality and most flavourful natural and organic foods, thus helping the food industry find its way back to “naturalness.” It is a leader in supporting sustainable agriculture and protecting the environment, promoting farming and fishing practices that are earth-friendly and allow for the constant renewal of those resources. The company also believes in giving back to the communities its serves through economic development and extensive support for local charitable organizations, farmers and other community food producers.

The Vancouver store will be the first Whole Foods Market location in Western Canada. The company's first Canadian store opened in Toronto's Yorkville district two years ago.