Whole Foods Market announced plans to build a flagship store and corporate headquarters in its hometown, Austin, Texas. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this year, and the company estimates the 80,000-square-foot store, more than double the size of any previous Whole Foods, will be completed in early 2005.
"Austin has yet to see the latest and the greatest that Whole Foods Market has to offer," said John Mackey, co-founder, president and CEO.
Twenty years ago, the company boasted one of the largest natural retail operations with a 10,000-square-foot store, and seven years ago, its two Austin locations, each at 36,000 square feet, were considered models of the future.
The new store will be an attempt to appeal to an even broader demographic. "We are no longer content just to be the best natural foods store, but instead aspire to be the finest food retailers in every community we serve," Mackey said. "We believe this new 80,000-square-foot landmark store provides us with that opportunity."
Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery said the allocation of space for departments has not been finalized, but the new store will have more of everything. "It represents the future of the company's retail vision," Lowery said, and store planners will cull new ideas and innovations from stores around the country. "We'll definitely be expanding our selection of fresh foods and having more space for interaction with customers—more theater."
"The design will appeal to a variety of shoppers, ranging from the health conscious family to the serious, gourmet cooks," Lowery said.
The flagship store is not a model, and the company won't be building 80,000-square-foot locations across the country, Lowery said. In a press release that announced the groundbreaking, Jim Sud, executive vice president of growth and business development, said the company's growth goal was to more than triple the store base to 400 stores by 2010.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 6/p. 16