Tuesday, January 24, 2006
A New "New" Whole Foods
The rumors are confirmed. Those of us who love Whole Food's landmark and home base store on 6th & Lamar will be surprised but pleased to know that improvements are already in the works. No, they aren't going to provide handheld GPS units for those times you become lost between the seafood and the bakery. The chain, which started in Austin with a staff of 19 in 1980, has grown faster than organic watermelons from the little natural foods store in the building that is now Cheapo's (pictured above) to the huge market with personal grocery shoppers and more. The landmark store is not quite a year old, but we will soon see construction at the fav downtown grocery.
Whole Foods executive team leader Seth Stutzman reports that they'll be barricading off the treacherously steep outdoor staircase to the rooftop area and moving a new & larger playscape into the section that housed the holiday ice skating rink. The side that the playscape is currently in will be renovated into a wine & beer bar with a stage for live music. Inside, the smokehouse area will be adding dining space and beer taps so that you can more quickly enjoy your chopped beef sandwich or smoked chicken along with a frosty cold Zeigenbock or Shiner.
Interesting that all the improvements tie in with faster and easier access to adult beverages. As it is the only store in Austin where you can sip champagne while you shop, I'm betting the impulse buys go up as your BAC rises.
I personally love the grocery valet service. As I'm paying, I ask the tattooed, pierced and dreadlocked checkout person to please valet my groceries. I'm given a number, leave the checkout person my groceries, locate my car in the parking garage and then drive through the valet area where my purchases are waiting. This is one totally cool service for a lazy woman like me. Gotta love WF.