I never got into tie-dyed shirts, macramé or love beads, but one thing I did love about the 1960s and ‘70s was the food. My children find it quite amusing that yogurt, herbal teas, granola bars, fruit leather, and smoothies were once considered far out.
Commune dwelling hippies ate that kind of stuff (and worse) as part of their radical vegetarian diet. The rest of us ate steak and eggs.
The world has changed many times over since then, and I am very excited about Whole Foods Market moving into the former Kroger site at Kingsley and Skillman.
I have always been a great fan of Whole Foods Market. I shopped in the original Austin store back in the late 1970s. It seemed very exotic to pick and choose from the large assortment of legumes, pastas and granolas in open bins.
It was one of the few places that offered something besides soft drinks and fries to soothe cranky toddlers. We could choose a fruit smoothie or yogurt-covered raisins instead. I even included the Greenville Avenue store in a guidebook for parents because it was such a fun place to explore.
Susie Blagdan, director of marketing for both the Greenville Avenue and Coit Road stores, is always on the run. She attends more than 30 health fairs a year, gives talks to company employees, clubs and groups and arranges store tours for everyone from new parents to senior citizens.
Her job is to educate Whole Foods Market customers on everything from legislative issues such as food labeling and pesticides to nutritious snack alternatives.
“We have 50 to 60 pamphlets on everything from homeopathic remedies to natural healing and kitchen-tested recipes,” says Blagdan. “We also have many books.”
I was surprised to learn that Whole Foods has 30 stores throughout the United States and has bought out three other natural food chains. This has resulted in far greater buying power for a wider variety of products such as gourmet cheeses.
Local contracts bring in all kinds of breads from popular sources such as Empire Bakery and Café Brazil. The company has been looking for more locations in the Dallas area and consistently received requests from customers to locate in Lake Highlands.
According to Lee Valkenaar, the store team leader in Richardson, the Lake Highlands Whole Foods Market will be the largest to date in the Dallas area. The 30,000-foot facility will have room for larger departments, particularly the most important one – fresh produce.
Valkenaar says although the company looks for a certain population density and education and income level in selecting new sites, there is no typical Whole Foods Market customer.
His biggest obstacle is not getting people to try organically grown produce. It’s overcoming the perception that natural foods stores are higher priced.
“We work actively to combat that through marketing programs and in-store specials,” Valkenaar says.
Our Whole Foods Market will not sell wine and beer, it will offer in-store massages from a massage therapist and the store, known for its decentralized team management system, will be hiring – when it opens, sometime in 1994.