Natural Foods Merchandiser

New Whole Foods Market opens

Whole Foods Market has opened its first Rocky Mountain region store in more than three years.

The new store opened June 15 in The Streets at SouthGlenn shopping center, 6853 York St. in Centennial, Colo., which is a redevelopment project of the former SouthGlenn Mall, just south of Denver.

At 58,000 square feet, the building is smaller than some earlier stores. Ron Megahan, vice president of design and development, said the format represents a new direction and a return to the store's original focus on health, good food and value.

"We think we can offer tremendous value and healthy products at the same time," he said. "Customers are smart and savvy and we're going to offer them the best."

It will be the first Whole Foods Market to have a free filleting station in the seafood department, a rail system with an old-fashioned butchery with sides of beef and an Asian Express wok-stir-fry station. The prepared foods department—including a burrito and taco bar, pizza oven and sandwich bar—will be the largest in all the chain's Colorado stores.

It also beats most stores' doggie aisles, which usually take up about 8 feet of sales-floor space. The SouthGlenn Whole Foods Market is dedicating 64 linear feet to pet products in addition to secure "dog parking spots" outside.

Ben Friedland, Whole Foods' Rocky Mountain marketing coordinator, said the store could likely be the only one in the world equipped with a kombucha and Oogave fountain. The store also has electric car plug-in parking spaces for four such cars.

The SouthGlenn Whole Foods Market will employ 185 people. It provides shoppers with more than 1,200 local products and 1,500 private-label products. All products are deemed natural or organic.

To kick off the opening of the store, Whole Foods is donating $5,000 to the Centennial Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society on June 12 and 13, said store team leader Rob Plutt.

"It's our commitment to local," Friedland added. "We're a key player to SouthGlenn, so we're working in partnership with his community."

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