October: Whole Foods
Euclid Avenue is a mixed-use district that is extremely walkable and offers a unique range of amenities and attractions! Global cuisine, retail spaces, coffee houses, gyms and a diverse range of residential opportunities - Euclid has it all! For the month of October, we decided to sit down and chat with Shawn-- the Store Team Leader at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods was founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas by a group of people working in other grocery stores who wanted to create a different kind of grocery store. Since then, they've grown enormously as a national chain. In September 2017, they were purchased by Amazon. This came with price drops and an expanded delivery system through Amazon Prime. The Euclid South location opened in May 2016. Shawn started working for the company in January 2003, beginning at the Brentwood, Missouri location.
The company's mission statement is "Whole Foods. Whole People. Whole Planet." Shawn noted, "This encompasses everything they do: working with all different kinds of people around food, as well as green missions and fundraising - it's groceries with a higher purpose." In the next five years, he sees Whole Foods expanding not only their locations but services as well. Especially improving their delivery services to increase convenience and accessibility.
When the Euclid South location first opened, the company thought that it would function as more of a lunchtime spot and corner store for people in the area. However, in the first year, they quickly realized that people who lived close by were doing all of their grocery shopping there. In January 2017, many people walked to the location when other stores were closed during an ice storm which helped to raise awareness of the store's convenient location for Central West End residents. This Whole Foods offers groceries, cafe, a bar with grocery store prices, Amazon lockers and parking garage access for customers. The Euclid South location was chosen for its proximity to two universities, hospitals, and the tech corridor. This brings a constant traffic flow to the area that is great for business. A lot of neighborhoods come together in the Central West End, and this brings diversity to the Whole Foods team members and customer base.
To Shawn, what sets Whole Foods apart are its team members. The team members at his store are of a caliber that he is very proud of. Whole Foods employs 130 people at its Euclid South location. The company pays all of its employees at least $15 an hour which makes employment there more attractive for both part-time and full-time job seekers.
Three big foundations run yearly throughout the company: Whole Cities, Whole Planets and Whole Kids. Whole Cities focuses on food deserts and community initiatives across the country. While every Whole Foods store participates in fundraising for the Whole Kids Foundation, the money raised at the Euclid South location goes specifically to schools in the area. Funding provides things like salad bars and gardens for those schools. The company has a "Whole Trade Guarantee" on many items that requires sellers to meet working conditions, living conditions, and environmental standards. The location is also proud to carry local products from businesses like 4 Hands Brewery and Baetje Farms.
Shawn's favorite thing about the neighborhood is how close it is to Forest Park. He loves the events and opportunities for involvement with nearby organizations that come with that, including Whole Foods' strong partnership with Forest Park Forever. He sees many customers stopping by after a run or walk in the park. Whole Foods serves as a kind-of community hub for many visitors to the park, as well as Central West End residents and workers, at various times of the day.
If he could tell the community one thing, Shawn would like people to come in and see the products and prices for themselves. There are lingering misconceptions about Whole Foods prices, and a lot of people are surprised when they come in and make price comparisons. Now, with Amazon Prime Deals, customers with Amazon Prime have access to a variety of sale items weekly, as well as an additional percentage off store-wide sale items.
Beginning in early November, customers can place orders from the Whole Foods Holiday Table. This is a convenient way to order delicious food for all of your holiday season needs! Orders can be made online or in-store and can be entire full-course meals or just a few items. The store is open on Thanksgiving for order pick-ups and last minute items.