By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star, January 2010
The long-anticipated new Hollywood Whole Foods store will open, amid parties and giveaways, on January 12.
At 8:45 a.m. that morning, with store officials and mayor Sam Adams in attendance, those in charge will ceremoniously “break bread” and open the 38,000 square foot store at 4301 N.E. Sandy Blvd., in the ground floor of The Beverly condominium building. The first 365 people through the door will get bags containing $25 worth of groceries. Throughout the day there will be demonstrations by the store’s suppliers, and samples given away.
The festivities will actually begin two days earlier, with a “red carpet” party from 4 to 6:30 p.m. January 10. There will be food, wine and beer provided by vendors, including the Laurelwood Public House. A suggested donation of $10 will go to the Hollywood Theatre, and Whole Foods is pledged to match any other donation of up to $5,000.
Giving back to the community will be an ongoing part of the store, representatives say. Part of the first day’s sales will go to Grant High School. A regular feature will be their Change for Change program. Those who bring their own bags to the store, and thus not using up more resources, will be given a token worth 10 cents; they can deposit in receptacles bound for selected charities. The first three beneficiaries will be the Big Brother Big Sister program, the Hollywood Senior Center and Growing Gardens. Other charitable causes wishing to participate can contact community relations representative Megan Hornbeak at (503) 284-2644 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The company also provides a Local Products Loan to local businesses seeking to expand; Townsend Tea received such a loan. So did Ruby Jewel Ice Cream Sandwiches. “They wanted it so that they could service a competitor of ours,” spokesperson Christine Gerrie told the Star. “We still gave it to them.”
Artwork will include tiles created by Harvey Scott School students.
For customers, Whole Foods will offer Allegro and other coffees that adhere to fair trade policies; a bakery that will do special orders; a Bulk Foods section featuring grains, nuts, beans and the like where you can bring your own container to collect the merchandise; meat and poultry from animals that have not been fed hormones or anti-biotics, and where you can have special orders or receive advice from knowledgeable people; a seafood section featuring foods not endangered by over-fishing or obtained by environmentally unfriendly practices, where you can get oysters shucked or crabs shelled; a florist; and a full-time Healthy Eating advisor. For on-premises consumption there will be a deli, sandwiches, pizza, salads, an antipasti bar and home-made soup.
Critics charge that Whole Foods is notoriously expensive; they dub it “whole paycheck.” To this Hornbeck says, “You can shop really affordably in our store. Our exclusive brand – 365 – contains products you can’t purchase anywhere else, and it’s so affordable it’s either equal or lower in price than comparable products available anywhere else. We do carry gourmet items, but we also give you a choice.”
Free parking is available in a garage accessed via Northeast 44th Avenue. The store will probably be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closing an hour earlier Sunday.