EMERYVILLE, Calif. (June 26, 2007). Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America's first national certified organic retailer, will open its new 35,000 sq. ft. store in Sonoma on Wednesday, June 27th at 9 a.m. The store is located at 201 W. Napa Street (and 2nd Street West, just one block from the plaza). Regular store hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
The new Sonoma store will be the fourth Whole Foods Market in Sonoma County. (Others are located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Sebastopol.) The new store will cater to the distinct flavors of Sonoma, with a strong representation of locally produced and fresh foods. Shoppers will find products from local vendors and farmers including Vella Cheese, Basque Bakery, Artisan Bakery, Greenstring Farm, Wine Country Pasta, Gundlach Bundschu, Benziger Family Winery and more.
“What a grand opportunity to be opening a new store in one of the country's greatest agricultural and viticultural areas,” says Anthony Gilmore, Whole Foods Market's president of the Northern California region. “At Whole Foods Market, we place a priority on seeking out locally-produced foods as much as possible. Our stores are empowered to maintain strong relationships with local growers and producers and source on a micro-local level so that our product reflects our communities. We are really excited about partnering with these food producers in Sonoma County more than ever with the addition of this new store.”
The official opening of the Sonoma Whole Foods Market will kick off with a bread-breaking ceremony at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27 th, before the doors open at 9am. The event will feature Whole Foods Market Regional President Anthony Gilmore, Mayor Stanley Cohen, City Councilmen Ken Brown, August Sebastiani and Steve Barbose; City Manager Mike Fuson, Whole Foods Market Store Team Leader Dana Leavitt and the new Whole Foods Market Sonoma team.
Throughout the opening day, Whole Foods Market will treat shoppers to a celebration featuring product samples, local musical entertainment, guest appearance by Chef Paul Bertolli, face painting for the kids, and complimentary, reusable Whole Foods Market Green Bags™ to the first 1,000 customers with purchase. Additionally on opening day, there will be a raffle for a giant gift basket filled with a variety of products from Whole Foods Market's family of house brands ($500 value). All funds raised will benefit the Sonoma Plaza Foundation.
Every department in the new Sonoma Whole Foods Market store has local offerings, including its prepared foods department, where store chefs will create ready-to-eat, restaurant quality cuisine. Shoppers will have the opportunity to enjoy made-to-order foods with local ingredients in the store's dine-in venue “Sonoma Kitchen.” The venue features a variety of freshly-made foods throughout the day, from omelets to tossed-to-order salads, pastas and entrees-all highlighting local ingredients from Sonoma County.
The Produce department will consist of bountiful bins of hand-stacked fruits and vegetables-much of which are organic-and will be well represented by local growers from Sonoma County, including Gabriel Farm, located in Sebastopol; Valley End Farm and Quetzal Farm, both from Santa Rosa; and Planet Organics located in the town of Sonoma, to name just a few. There will also be a selection of seasonal, exotic and specialty products like organic lemon cucumbers and organic French breakfast radishes; as well as a mouth-watering display of fresh-cut fruits.
The full-service meat department will offer the widest selection of the best tasting, freshest, quality meat raised to the strictest standards in the industry. Shoppers can receive custom cuts, cooking tips and personal recommendations from knowledgeable Team Members. Also available will be over 20 types of handmade sausage, oven-ready meat dishes; stuffed meats and kabobs; a selection of tender dry-aged beef, which is dry-aged in the store the old-fashioned way; fresh smoked meats; game duck, low-fat cuts and more. The meat department will also feature Sonoma Direct Lamb and Rocky Natural and Rosie Organic Chicken from Petaluma.
The Seafood department will feature local fresh catches off Bodega Bay, as well as locally caught smoked items. Along with a wide selection of both fresh and frozen varieties there will be several oven ready selections such as pre-skewered shrimp and grill-ready fish wrapped in cedar papers or banana leaves. A seafood salad bar will feature grab and go salads, seafood cocktails and specialty items such smoked salmon salsa.
The store will offer an expansive wine department, featuring 300 different wines from appellations within Sonoma County such as Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley from the following wineries. A sampling of wineries that will be represented are Gundlach Bundschu, Benziger Family Winery, Meitz Cellars, Cline Vineyards, BR Cohn, and Coturri Winery. There will be over 400 cheeses in the specialty department, including Matos Family Creamery from Santa Rosa, Redwood Hill Dairy from Sebastopol, and Bellwether Farms from Petaluma.
Shoppers will find an abundant bakery offering fresh breads, cakes, cookies, pies and other fresh-baked goods, including sweet treats from the Basque Bakery, located in Sonoma. In the grocery aisles, customers will find a full selection of grocery products from the every day to the exotic, including Whole Foods Market's own family of brands: Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™, Whole Foods Market 365 Organic Everyday Value™, Whole Kitchen™, Whole Pantry™ and much more. There are also many products to accommodate special diets as well as a wide selection of ethnic foods.
Other special amenities in the single-level space include a dedicated Whole Body department that offers highest quality, cruelty-free facial, skin and body care as well as vitamins, supplements, herbs, organic eco-apparel and accessories, a full-service coffee bar featuring Whole Foods Market's own delicious Allegro® coffee; indoor and outdoor seating, and 12 check stands to ensure quick and friendly service.
Whole Foods Market is a mission-driven company that offers natural and organic foods that must adhere to its strict quality standards and pass the taste tests of its food experts. All foods offered at Whole Foods Market must be free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils. Whole Foods Market's emphasis on the highest quality and best-tasting fresh, local produce; chef-prepared foods; baked goods; flavorful meats; sparkling seafood, and natural personal care products, appeal to a variety of customers from health-conscious households to aspiring gourmets.
The Sonoma Whole Foods Market will add approximately 135 jobs to the Sonoma area. Almost the entire store leadership team are local Sonoma County residents, and about 75 percent of the Team Members are also from the area, many of whom have transferred from Whole Foods Market's stores in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Petaluma. Whole Foods Market was recently selected as one of FORTUNE magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the tenth consecutive year.
“Our Team Members are truly passionate about sharing their knowledge and the joys of great-tasting food and natural lifestyle choices with others,” says Dana Leavitt, Store Team Leader. “Our goal as a team is to satisfy and delight all shoppers every time they visit Whole Foods Market.”
In keeping with the company's tradition of local community and environmental support, Whole Foods Market has already made a significant impact on the Sonoma community. Organizations such as the Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, Sonoma Valley Film Society, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and the Plaza Foundation have all received support in the past several months, as well as programs such as The Sonoma Sunny Awards, the local community center's Ox Roast, and Sonoma Bike to Work Day. Each quarter, Whole Foods Market holds “Five Percent Days,” in which five percent of its sales for the day benefit a local non-profit organization. Once the store opens, Whole Foods Market Sonoma's team members will determine the date and beneficiary of its first Five Percent Day, which will take place before the end of September.
“This is just the beginning of Whole Foods Market's commitment to the Sonoma community,” says Leavitt. “We believe strongly in giving back to our communities, whether it is contributing to a local school healthy lunch program, providing a food basket for a fundraising auction, donating our time to a local nonprofit or supporting the local farmer's market.”
In the Northern California region of Whole Foods Market, there are currently 20 Whole Foods Markets. They are located in Berkeley, Campbell, Cupertino, Fresno, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Mill Valley, Monterey, Palo Alto, Petaluma, Redwood City, Sacramento, San Francisco (two locations), San Mateo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Walnut Creek. For a complete list of store locations, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com.