Whole Foods Market will open their North Vancouver store on April 26. The store will be the 14th in Canada for the Austin, Texas-based premium grocery chain.
The 40,000-square-foot space is located in The Omni Group’s CentreView multi-use development at 13th and Lonsdale; the deal was announced back in 2014.
Ahead of the opening later this month, Whole Foods has announced they have awarded an $80,000 loan to Greenbelt Microgreens as part of the grocers Local Producer Loan Program, which grants low-interest loans to growing local artisans, farmers and producers.
Additionally, the grocer is spotlighting the forthcoming store’s local food connections, including regional suppliers from Vancouver and beyond, like Lisa Lou’s Chocolates, Tree Island Yogurt, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Terra Breads, and Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese.
“Our commitment to local farms and artisan producers drives our ability to offer new and interesting products to our customers that are local to their region,” said Denise Breyley, Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, in a media release.
Curiously, Whole Foods has taken some very public negative flack in recent weeks and following their sale to Amazon, in particular from an Eater article that posits “Amazon is sort of ruining Whole Foods.” The piece points to a new corporate practice of having local vendors be approved through the Austin HQ, and the “foragers,” having a less certain role in the process of bringing on local suppliers.
Whole Foods also has come under scrutiny for severing a business relationship with a supplier who took on $2 million in debt to be able to fulfill a seven-year contract with the grocer that was inked in 2015. In 2017, following the sale to Amazon, the contract was cancelled.
Just a couple of years ago, Whole Foods had ambitious plans for the Canadian market. The Texas-based grocery store known for its focus on organic and local foods and in-store amenities (hello, salad bar and cheese zone) had hoped to move beyond B.C. and Ontario, aiming to have nearly 40 grocery stores in operation in Canada.
But in early 2017, Whole Foods opted to scale back, closing nine U.S. locations. Meanwhile, they scrapped plans for stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
Still, Whole Foods has forged ahead with locations in B.C. in Victoria, and now North Vancouver.
“Whole Foods Market is committed to the concept of fresh, healthy, local foods, and supporting both local products and the people who supply them,” notes the grocer in a media release.
The North Vancouver grand opening event will kick off at 9 am on April 26, and the first 100 people in line will receive gift cards, in denominations of anything from $10 to $200. Opening day will also feature specials, demos, and samples.
Whole Foods is located at 102 13th Street East in North Vancouver.
Original article cited from nsnews.com