Edgeville Buzz

New Whole Foods Lays Roots In Edgewater Community

Whole_Foods1Blossoming Edgewater’s retail scene and bringing life back to Glenlake and Broadway Avenue, the new Whole Foods Market at 6009 N. Broadway is attracting a growing consumer base and harvesting a wealth of altruistic community partnerships; and it’s only been one week.

The nationally recognized grocery chain renovated the former Dominick’s building, vacant since January 2014, and opened its doors to the public Wednesday, April 29. Attracting hundreds, the new store’s convenient location and organic food selection has caught the attention of a wide spectrum of Edgewater residents.

According to Keith Stewart, marketing director of Whole Foods in the greater Chicago area, more than 500 customers have visited the new location every day since its grand opening last week.

“Watching the development of the store here, we’re pleasantly surprised with the reception the Edgewater community has given us,” Stewart said at the Edgewater Dealmakers 2015 event hosted by the Edgewater Development Corp. on Wednesday, May 6.

Whole Foods invested a total of $10 million into the 54,000-square-foot space, prompting Stewart to remark, “If some folks called (opening in Edgewater) a gamble, it has more than paid off.”

Whole_Foods3While Whole Foods operates more than 360 stores across North America and the United Kingdom, the Edgewater location has made a concerted effort to entangle itself in the surrounding neighborhood and the larger Chicago community.

“Edgewater is an amazing place to play off of and carry on this really passionate sense of community,” said Melissa Franada, marketing and community relations specialist for the Edgewater Whole Foods.

Already, the organization has integrated itself with more than eight local charities. To celebrate its grand opening, the store featured a different nonprofit each day for its first five days in business, donating 1 percent of its total sales from that day to the spotlighted organization.

To kick-off its five daily donations, Whole Foods featured the Peterson Garden Project, an organization that shares the store’s mission to source and promote natural, organic foods. The store then supported Jackalope Theatre, Felines and Canines, Lakeside Pride Music Ensemble and Friends of Senn High School, in which students from the school’s art department showcased artwork and conducted seven live performances throughout the store.

While these initiatives have offered charitable organizations a wealth of support in the short term, Whole Foods nurtures a variety of ongoing partnerships as well.

According to Franada, the store provides daily food donations to Care for Real — an Edgewater-based organization that provides food, clothing and counseling services to those in need.

Furthermore, shoppers who bring in re-usable bags receive a 10-cent-per-bag credit they can either deduct from their bill or donate to the store’s Dime at a Time program. In Edgewater’s case, the program benefits Friends of Swift — an arm of the Community Christian Church that brings together Swift School staff, students, families and the community to help children see, believe and achieve their dreams.

Whole_Foods2Lastly, to fulfill a request made by Ald. Harry Osterman, Whole Foods is bringing a little color to the store’s external brick wall. Working with After School Matters, a nonprofit organization that offers Chicago high school teens innovative out-of-school activities, local students and artists are in the process of creating a mosaic mural, akin to the mosaics seen under the Lake Shore Drive and CTA overpasses, on the building’s west wall.

“Pulling together all of the different schools, organizations and charities has been really fun,” said Franada. “Whole Foods’ mission and goals go hand-in-hand with Edgewater’s.”

The new store features all of the amenities one would expect from Whole Foods, including a fresh selection of organic produce and meats; buffet stations serving hot comfort foods, a salad bar and soups; made-to-order wood-fired pizzas and grilled sandwiches, seafood, coffee drinks and more.

Wandering customers can also find themselves enjoying their plunder at the store’s Red Star Diner, a common seating area and bar that boasts 24 beers on tap.

With 150 employees, operations at the Edgewater Whole Foods continue to draw in curious residents and pump life into the community. Abuzz, the neighborhood is excited to see the lasting impact Whole Foods is striving to make.

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