Whole Foods Market will soon hit a milestone with its stores as it prepares to open its 500th location on April 5 in Atlanta – the natural food grocer's 12th in the area.
The 70,000-square-foot multilevel location will open in midtown Atlanta as Whole Foods' south region flagship store. It is intended to function as a community gathering destination that will feature four fast-casual eateries – including a rooftop bar with skyline views – that will provide exclusive food menus and curated selections of locally sourced beer and wine.
The store's selection will include locally sourced options, grab-and-go prepared foods, and natural and organic groceries. All products are free from hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, meeting Whole Foods' quality standards.
Additional features will include:
- A fresh produce department with seasonal fruits and vegetables, selections from regional growers, and an in-store produce butcher who will cut fruits and vegetables to order for customers as they shop
- A meat-cutting room with Old World-style butcher services
- A full-service seafood department offering poke, ceviche and local oysters
- A bakery offering house-made and locally produced artisan breads, a variety of desserts such as macaron ice cream sandwiches, and items for special diets
- A specialty food section featuring an extensive selection of cheeses, coffees and chocolates
- Hot and cold prepared food bars featuring seasonal dishes and options for special diets, along with a salad bar, soup wells, self-serve pizza, sushi from Gengi, made-to-order sandwiches, plant-focused grain bowls, and more
- A juice bar with made-to-order smoothies, juice shots and cold-pressed blends
- An expansive assortment of 100-plus beers and more than 1,000 wines, many from local producers
- 150 bulk bins containing candy, beans, grains, dried herbs and spices
- A beauty and body care department featuring a range of local products
- A European-inspired floral shop that can produce custom floral arrangements for everyday pieces, weddings and special events
"We can't wait to welcome customers into this one-of-a-kind Whole Foods Market," said Abibou N'Diaye, store team leader. "From its extensive selection of responsibly sourced, local and innovative product offerings, to its four unique dining spaces, to its Atlanta-inspired design elements that capture the spirit of the community, we are confident that this store will offer something for a variety of tastes, preferences and purposes."
The news comes the same week as a report that Whole Foods is dropping the 365 by Whole Foods Market banner from its smaller-format stores. The Austin, Texas-based grocer revealed last month that it would discontinue expansion of the banner.
Whole Foods operates more than 470 stores throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Under the name of its parent company, Amazon, the food retailer is No. 8 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.