Touted as a destination for the local community, Whole Foods Market on April 5 opened the doors to its new flagship Midtown Atlanta store. Located at 22 14th St. NW in Related Group’s Icon Midtown residential development, the 70,000-square-foot store marks the Austin, Texas-based retailer’s 500th location and features more than 1,500 local items from 250 suppliers, as well as several dining and gathering spaces throughout the multilevel format.
“Whole Foods Market Midtown will be a true gathering space for the community,” Bobby Turner, president of the South Region for Whole Foods, said in a statement. “We worked hard to create a place that offers our neighbors a destination to get together, enjoy great food and connect with members of the local community through a variety of culinary, wellness and cultural events. We’re proud that our new South Region flagship has the honor of opening as Whole Foods Market’s 500th store, marking an incredible milestone for the company.”
14th Street Bar
Serving a selection of wines, local beers and soft drinks, 14th Street bar includes a private outdoor dining balcony overlooking 14th Street and West Peachtree Street, with seating for 28 customers and indoor seating accommodating up to 111 customers. The eatery also features a screened porch with comfortable seating and heaters for colder days, operating from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
A full-service Allegro coffee and espresso bar, Capital Commons was designed as a tribute to its location in the state of Georgia’s capital. Featuring wine, local beers, baked goods—including handmade biscuits from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit—sandwiches and more, Capital Commons provides a cozy gathering destination that can accommodate 60 customers. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Part of the Friends of Whole Foods Market program, which partners with outside culinary and lifestyle brands for residence inside Whole Foods stores to “bring shoppers innovative experiences,” Farm Burger’s menu focuses on 100% locally sourced grass-fed, grass-finished beef burgers. Additional offerings include chicken burgers, vegan options, farm-fresh salads and a kids menu, as well as a selection of beers on tap. The retailer said the eatery will open in early summer 2019, with daily operating hours of 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will have indoor seating for 86 customers and outdoor seating for 28 customers.
With a selection of locally sourced options, grab-and-go prepared foods and natural and organic grocery items, all food at Whole Foods Market must meet the company’s rigorous quality standards, which prohibit hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
Curated exclusively for the Midtown Atlanta store, local offerings include banana pudding from Malvi Mallow, Midtown Magic blend from Beautiful Briny Sea, Peach Praline from King of Pops, four specialty blends from Brash Coffee Roasters, and cucumber lemonade from Arden’s Garden. The store also includes meat, seafood, grocery and bakery departments to complete the total shopping experience.
The store’s extensive hot and cold prepared food bars feature seasonal dishes, including options for special diets; build-your-own avocado toast and lettuce wrap bars; a skillet bar offering fried chicken, wings and fish; as well as a salad bar, soup wells, self-serve pizza, sushi from Genji, a sandwich station with made-to-order items, rotisserie chickens, plant-focused grain bowls and seasonally rotating culinary pop-up stations.
A vast produce department touts a selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, items from regional growers and an in-store fruit and veggie butcher, offering cut-to-order fruits and vegetables while customers shop. In addition, a European-inspired floral shop offers unique varieties of single-stem flowers, Whole Foods-exclusive roses and custom floral arrangements for everyday and special occasions.
In addition to social dining experiences, Whole Foods Midtown Atlanta will host weekly culinary, health and wellness and social community events, including open mic nights for local musicians and comedians, meet-the-maker events with the owners and artisans of local products sold in-store, a monthly artist gallery night featuring local artists and their work, and The Chef’s Table—an exclusive event with one-on-one cooking experiences alongside local chefs and farmers. The events calendar will also include a number of fitness classes, including Zumba, yoga and cycling.
Grand Opening Celebrations
To celebrate the flagship store’s grand opening on April 5, Whole Foods offered shoppers free coffee from a local supplier, pastries and live music. The first 500 customers in line when the doors opened at 7 a.m. received a token that was valid for one Whole Foods Market Midtown canvas tote bag with their purchase. Plus, throughout the weekend, the first 150 customers received between $5 and $100 gift cards. Shoppers also had the opportunity to cycle for a nonprofit as the retailer set up spin bikes along the sidewalk. For every five minutes someone cycled, the retailer donated $1 to the Center for Puppetry Arts.
In-store highlights from opening day included live music, product sampling and a meet-the-maker event. To further celebrate the store’s debut, Whole Foods will donate 5% of the store’s net sales on April 18 to Food Well Alliance, supporting local urban agriculture in Atlanta.
Whole Foods Midtown Atlanta employees approximately 350 full-time and part-time employees, and will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The retailer also operates 11 other stores in the Atlanta metropolitan area.