Emeryville, CA (Sept. 14, 2011) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) today announces a new initiative to help Oakland shoppers make educated and positive lifestyle choices that promote their long-term health and wellbeing. Opening on Monday, Sept. 19 and located inside Whole Foods Market’s Oakland store, the Wellness Club program offers a variety of educational classes in a supportive setting to help individuals make more informed decisions about living a healthier lifestyle. Wellness Club leadership will host a bread-breaking ceremony at 10 a.m., which will involve cutting a healthy, sprouted grain baguette.

This is the third Club to open in the U.S. and the first to open on the West Coast.

This program, developed by medical doctors, Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde, registered dietitian, Jeff Novick, and healthy eating enthusiasts on staff at Whole Foods Market is available for a one-time processing fee of $195 down and $45 each month. Program offerings include:

  • A lifestyle evaluation
  • Nutrition education
  • Skill-building classes  – a full list of classes can be found here: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/wellnessclub/stores/oakland/classes/
  • Coaching and practical tips
  • Fitness and yoga classes
  • A supportive community environment, allowing members to share success stories, collaborate and offer encouragement to help increase success rates. This includes Supper Clubs, offering delicious and healthy four-course meals in a group setting with fellow members.
  • Discounts on Supper Clubs
  • A 10 percent discount on thousands of healthier food choices in the Oakland store
  • Access to a growing local network of businesses that offer discounts to members on healthy lifestyle services and products

As an added incentive to get started, customers who join Sept. 19 – Oct. 2, will have the processing fee waived and only be required to pay monthly dues.  All customers who join between Oct. 3 –  Nov. 30 will receive a $100 Whole Foods Market gift card, one free Supper Club dinner or brunch and a goodie bag filled with healthy products.

Skill-building classes will be free opening week, Sept. 19 – 23, to give customers an opportunity to sample the program before joining.

“This is like nothing the grocery world has ever seen before and we’re thrilled to offer it to our communities and to be a pioneer in the effort of providing support for our shoppers,” comments John Mackey, Whole Foods Market founder and co-CEO. “Created by doctors, this program offers members a wide-ranging set of tools for a greater chance of sustaining a healthier lifestyle.”

The Oakland Wellness Club team consists of lecturers and chefs, with extensive support from, and continuing education with, the doctors and registered dietitian who developed the program.

“We are extremely excited to help build this program,” said Matthew Lederman, M.D., “The overall structure, support system and team that we have in place will help address individual needs, inspire changes in lifestyle and help members reach their optimum health.”

Both the Wellness Clubs and the company’s Health Starts Here initiative are programs that support Whole Foods Market’s core value of promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education. The Health Starts Here program offers simple guidance on making healthier food choices in the kitchen to help people get started on their journey to health, and the Wellness Club program offers more in-depth, personalized education in a supportive setting to make nutritional and lifestyle changes sustainable. The Wellness Club  is broken down into introductory classes focused on basic nutrition, a four-week “immersion” phase that focuses on education and learning, followed by a four-week “experimental” phase, which emphasizes how to incorporate a healthier lifestyle into daily life plus more coaching and skill-building sessions. After all these phases are completed, ongoing support and education is available indefinitely.

The store will look for compatible community partners such as yoga and fitness studios or local experts who can offer lectures and classes about health and wellness at the Wellness Club.

“We’ve found that providing the support of like-minded individuals greatly increases the success rate for people looking to make positive lifestyle changes,” said Alona Pulde, M.D.  “Supper Clubs, interactive classes and practical skill building in this type of group setting is part of what makes this program so unique.” Whole Foods Market has identified five key markets for its first Wellness Clubs. They include:

  • Boston: Dedham store, 300 Legacy Place, Dedham, MA 02026 (opened August 15)
  • Chicago: Lincoln Park store, 1550 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago, IL 60642 (opened September 6)
  • Oakland:  Oakland store, 230 Bay Place, Oakland, CA 94612
  • New York: Tribeca store, 270 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007
  • Princeton: Princeton store, 3495 US Route 1 South, Princeton, NJ 08540

Based on these initial five pilot programs, the company will look to open additional Clubs in other cities in the future.

Store Information Whole Foods Market Oakland 230 Bay Place, Oakland, CA 94612 Tel. 510-834-9800 Caesare? Assad, Oakland Wellness Club Team Leader Stefanie Bollini, Oakland Wellness Club Chef Michael Jefferies, Oakland Wellness Club Lecturer Ashley Erickson, Oakland Wellness Club Specialist Website: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/wellnessclub/stores/oakland/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/oaklandwellnessclub Twitter: www.twitter.com/wellnesscluboak # # #