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Whole Foods Set to Unveil New 'Landmark' Store

AUSTIN, Tex. -- Whole Foods Market is gearing up for the grand opening of a new Austin "landmark store" and world headquarters on March 3. The new 80,000 sq. ft. store, will serve as a key anchor of Austin's downtown revitalization efforts. Its opening coincides with Whole Foods' 25th anniversary.

Located just blocks from where the first Whole Foods Market began as a small neighborhood grocer 25 years ago, the new store will be the company's largest to date.

"To put this store in perspective, every department features more variety than you'd find in a stand-alone specialty shop -- but with products free of artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, preservatives and hydrogenated oils," noted John Mackey, Whole Foods Market c.e.o., in a statement. "Whole Foods Market is committed to the goal of being not only the best natural foods store, but the finest food retailer in every community we serve."

The store's décor will be highlighted by bright colors reminiscent of an outdoor farmers market, the company said. Just inside is Lamar Street Greens, a sit-down dining area where customers can eat made-to-order salads and drink a glass of wine as they watch the chef at work. Aiming for "high theatre" with its seafood presentation, the new store will merchandise more than 150 fresh seafood items and on-the-spot shucking, cooking, smoking, slicing and frying to order.

In addition, natural and organic meats will be aged on-site, and an in-house smoker will prepare ready-to-go items and special orders; while Candy Island will offer treats from toffee and fudge to handmade lollipops, popcorn balls, and a chocolate fountain for enrobing fresh and dried fruit. A hot nut bar will be stocked with fresh nuts daily from an in-house nut roaster, and a World Foods section will feature the best pre-packaged and to-go items from Brazil to India.

Dine-in eateries will be sprinkled throughout the store, with freshly prepared, restaurant-quality salads, seafood, sushi, pasta, and desserts. Additional takeout counters will offer noodle bowls, satays, stir fries, "living foods" and fresh squeezed juices.

Said Whole Foods southwest regional v.p. Bruce Silverman: "Our focus on ethnic cuisine, combined with our respect for and support of Texas products from the best local food artisans and growers, will ensure that our guests can explore countless new ideas in food."

In addition to raising the bar on its culinary offerings, Whole Foods' landmark store features a Whole Body section of natural and organic body care and cosmetics and organic cotton apparel for adults and kids in the Natural Home section. Whole Baby completes the store's lifestyle area, with baby food, diapers, shampoo and other needs placed together to make shopping easier for (and with) small children.

Whole Foods Market's landmark store will be a major fixture in Austin's growing downtown economy, and serve as a community gathering spot. It features a 25,000-square-foot roof garden and plaza with 200 shaded seats, a space for entertainers, a "playscape," flowing stream, native landscaping, and prime city views.

The store offers 900 parking spots with three levels of underground parking. A special moving sidewalk will carry shopping carts from the store down to the garage, or a complimentary grocery valet will allow team members to deliver bags efficiently right to customers' cars as they exit the garage.

In keeping with the urban trend of growing up rather than out, the new building also includes Whole Foods Market's new world headquarters, a six-story, 200,000-square-foot tower above the store, with office space for up to 500 team members.
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