Friday, July 12, 2013
First look: New commuter Whole Foods caters to Addison’s flux demographic
The store boasts impressive offerings for beer and wine drinkers.
ADDISON Austin-based Whole Foods opens its newest store in North Texas in Addison on Tuesday, July 16. While the grocery store will offer local, organic, and environmentally sustainable options like all Whole Foods stores do, the Addison locale offers a few extra perks, like serving as the only Whole Foods in North Texas that will fill a keg. It also has a "Buy a Buddy a Beer" section, and Chuck Norris has already been purchased a cold one.
The Addison location -- which has been built at 5100 Belt Line Road in the Village on the Parkway shopping center -- offers conveniences particularly appealing to the area's pervasive commuter demographic.
"On any given day, 90% of Addison's population doesn't actually live in Addison," said Karen Lukin, Whole Foods community and media relations coordinator for DFW, during a sneak peek tour. The town has 15,000 residents, but about 150,000 people come into the city to work, eat, or shop on a daily basis, said Carrie Rice, director of marketing and communications for the town of Addison.
The comers and goers -- particularly in the business corridor -- really are what you would call "on the move."
The store includes Whole Foods' standby hot/cold bars, pre-packaged meals, and made-to-order cafe, but it also offers an unexpected convenience: The company's concierge service allows customers to email or call in a grocery order and pick it up curbside. Gift baskets and floral arrangements are also available for last-minute pick up. The first "personal shop" is free, and additional ones are charged by the hour.
The Addison store also has happy hours and a bar. The Addison store's bar is called the Spirit of '76 as a nod to the year when the town became wet and residents no longer had to drive as far as Anna for beer or wine. There are 25 beverages on tap: 17 beers, including a rotating selection from local breweries like Revolver, Deep Ellum, and Peticolas; 6 wines; 1 root beer; and 1 cold brew tea. Happy hour is Tuesday through Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m., and guests can carry beverages throughout the store. Grabbing kale and quinoa has never been so amusing.
The Addison location will fill kegs -- the only one of the company's North Texas locations to offer them so far -- as well as growlers and wine globes. It also has the "Buy a Buddy a Beer" program, where guests can purchase a beer for a friend, whose name will be listed on a board for the next time they come in. (We checked: If your friend's name happens to be "John Smith" or something similarly common, bartenders will need to know your name as well to ensure the right buddy gets the right beer.) This program has already been implemented in Austin, where Media and Community Relations Coordinator Rachel Malish said guests often buy beers for Willie Nelson -- and notify him via Twitter.
The Addison store's first buddy beer was bought Thursday morning, and Chuck Norris -- yes, that Chuck Norris -- may pick it up when the bar opens Tuesday.
Guests can also pick out and purchase a bottle of wine, meal, or snack and pay for it at the bar. There is no corking fee, and bartenders will re-cork your bottle if you would like to take it to go. Flights of wine or cheese are also available.
For those who don't drink, the coffee bar features a Strada espresso machine and a selection of Fair Trade teas and coffees. There's also a juice bar.
Lukin said that the town is in the process of adding a left turn lane on Belt Line to increase the shopping center's accessibility. Like other locations, the store also has bike racks and electric car charging stations.
In keeping with the franchise's emphasis on "paying it forward," the Addison store will be the first to have an official benefactor, and a permanent stand has been installed for donations to the North Texas Food Bank. In addition, five Addison-based charities will receive 1% of the day's sales on the first five days the store is open.
The store will open to the public for a special sneak peak on July 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. and while guests may not yet purchase items, there will be live music, food, drinks, prizes, and contests. Doors open early on Tuesday, July 16 for a special "bread breaking" ceremony at 7:30 a.m., and the first 100 customers will receive gift cards in varying denominations between $5 and $250. The store officially opens at 8 a.m.
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