Whole Foods Market will open a new 50,000-square-foot store on April 12 in the town of Brighton — the first store in the Rochester, N.Y., area for the natural and organic grocer.
Located at 2740 Monroe Avenue, the store will feature a midcentury modern design that will also lean into Rochester’s rich history as an epicenter for photography and film. Determined to develop an easy, portable film and camera system, local banker George Eastman successfully launched the small-box Kodak camera in 1888. After his success with still photography, Eastman collaborated with Thomas Edison on the latter’s new movie machines, ultimately inventing motion-picture films. The new Whole Foods will celebrate the area’s photography and film history with design elements like an enlarged film strip over the Specialty Department featuring local landmarks as a nod to Kodak.
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Meanwhile, in the aisles, the Rochester-area store will offer more than 500 local items from Central and Western New York, sourced with the help of John Lawson, local forager for Whole Foods’ Northeast region.
The new store will feature an array of organic, conventional and Sourced for Good produce, with an in-house veggie butcher cutting fruits and vegetables to order. Offerings from more than a dozen local farms will include greens from Agbotic, tomatoes from Intergrow Greenhouses, beets from Stick and Stone Farm and apples from Hudson River Fruit.
The prepared food section will tout a hot- food bar, a salad bar, a soup station, made-in-house rotisserie chicken, fresh hot pizza, sushi by Kikka, and prepacked salads and sandwiches to-go. The store will also include Za’atar, a Mediterranean-inspired Whole Foods venue, featuring fresh salads and grain bowls.
Additionally, the new location will include full-service seafood, meat and cheese counters.
Customers who stop by the Rochester store on opening day can enjoy giveaways, free samples and live entertainment. The first 500 shoppers in line will receive a Whole Foods Market tote bag and scratch-and-win Whole Foods gift cards.
To give back to the community, Whole Foods’ Nourishing our Neighborhoods program will donate a refrigerated van to Open Door Mission, allowing the nonprofit to transport both perishable and nonperishable food to communities in need. Donations will also be made to food rescue organizations Foodlink and Flower City Pickers.
The journey to Rochester getting its own Whole Foods store had some roadblocks along the way. According to Spectrum News Rochester, the project faced opposition from neighborhood groups, and lawsuits were filed over the state’s open meetings law and the local zoning law. Construction on the store began in April 2021 following a ruling in New York State Supreme Court, which allowed the work to move forward. The last of the lawsuits against the developers was dismissed last week.
The first certified-organic national grocer, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.