Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) has set the opening date for its much-anticipated 365 by Whole Foods Market. The first location will bow on May 25 in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The concept is a new one for Whole Foods and offers a streamlined assortment in a smaller format. The Silver Lake store is just 30,000 sq. ft., compared to a Whole Foods store that averages 45,000 sq. ft.
Therefore, the assortment is curated and going forward each store will be tailored to its market.
Personalization is a big part of the concept, from assortment to services including the new Friends of Whole Foods partner program. The grocer has selected several businesses and given them space within the store. The first "friends" are by Chloe, a Las Vegas fast-casual restaurant; Allegro Coffee Company bar, which serves both coffee and craft beer; and a TeaBot kiosk that serves up customized tea blends, ready in 30 seconds.
"With each store, we're looking to curate a unique experience. Allegro's craft brew bar will provide a casual place for Silver Lake residents to relax before or after they shop, while TeaBot's unique service will offer a quick, yet deeply personalized tea-making experience," said Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods Market. "We've really dedicated ourselves to partnering with like-minded companies that are doing new and interesting things in their respective field to bring a truly unique shopping experience that complements our thoughtfully curated selection of foods."
The next location is scheduled for Portland, Oregon, and will feature an entirely different group of "friends."
Online ordering is available with fulfillment by Instacart. Whole Foods recently made an investment in the delivery service and now uses the service in 17 markets.
Whole Foods is betting that the new 365 store format will help transform its image from a high-priced grocer to a more value-oriented one, and win over younger shoppers looking for a more personalized experience.
- see this Whole Foods announcement
- see this Washington Post story
Whole Foods invests in Instacart
Whole Foods seeks 'friends'
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