Store features dozens of ‘Island Local’ products, in-store venues run by Victoria-based restaurateurs and 141 team members hired from Vancouver Island
VICTORIA, British Columbia, 2016-Nov-02 — /EPR Retail News/ —Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic grocer, will open Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Victoria, British Columbia. The 40,000-square-foot store is located in the Uptown Shopping Centre, at 3587 Blanshard Street, in Saanich. It is the first Whole Foods Market store on Vancouver Island and is the company’s 12th location in Canada.
The store will host a bread-breaking ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell will join Whole Foods Market leaders, local suppliers and community partners to welcome shoppers. Doors open at 9 a.m.
“For more than a decade, we’ve been building relationships in the communities we serve throughout British Columbia, and we’re excited to continue this growth on Vancouver Island,” said Angela Lorenzen, president of Whole Foods Market’s Pacific Northwest Region. “We’ve long believed that Victoria would be a wonderful home for a new store because of our shared values. Like us, this community is a champion for strong, local food systems and believes in environmental stewardship. Our team members, many of whom come from Vancouver Island, have been working hard to create a store experience that reflects what island residents tell us they want and need. We look forward to continuing to build relationships here and serving Greater Victoria.”
The new store will provide an unmatched selection of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as a wide variety of island-sourced products and delicious dining options.
- Fin & Pearl, an in-store seafood venue with seating at the bar, and ample café seating, offers a place to gather and enjoy fresh, local seafood and local beers and cider on tap. At opening, the 12 local taps will feature selections from Hoyne Brewing Co., Driftwood Brewery, Phillips Brewing Company and Tod Creek Craft Cider. The menu includes favorites such as B.C. oysters on the half shell, steamed mussels and clams, and tempura-battered fish and chips.
- Top-notch customer service: Out of 154 team members working at the Victoria store, 141 are from Vancouver Island.
- Whole Foods Market has partnered with Victoria-based Discovery Coffee to run a full-service coffee bar inside the store. Discovery Coffee uses Island Farms dairy milk, features seasonal teas from island local tea company, JagaSilk, and serves an assortment of fresh donuts, made every morning at Yonni’s Bakery.
- The Victoria store is also home to Bliss Juice, a juice bar run by the creators of Café Bliss and Be Love restaurant. Bliss Juice offers seasonally inspired, made-to-order juices, super food smoothies, wheatgrass shots, live-food lunches, healthy snacks and raw desserts. Bliss Juice products are 100 percent animal-product free, wheat free, gluten free and are made from scratch.
- Local product offerings: On top of the more than 300 B.C. vendors shoppers already find in all B.C. Whole Foods Market stores, more than 40 products from new Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands vendors were added as a result of Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Fair held in March 2016.
- All 365 Everyday Value food products are enrolled in the Non-GMO Project.
During the store’s grand opening festivities, Whole Foods Market will present B.C.-based Terra Breads with a $100,000 Local Producer Loan. To date, Whole Foods Market has made five loans to B.C.-based, independent food producers, and has contributed more than $400,000 to the local economy through this program alone. Past Local Producer Loan Program recipients include Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt, Le Gateau Bake Shop, Harker’s Organics and Lina’s Garden.
Shoppers visiting Whole Foods Market’s Victoria store can look forward to a full-service experience:
- An industry-leading seafood team – Whole Foods Market’s quality standards for seafood lead the industry. All wild-caught seafood sold in the store is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and is entirely traceable from the fishery to store. The seafood department takes the hassle out of prepping seafood, and in-store fishmongers will fillet whole fish, skin and debone fish, peel and devein shrimp, shuck oysters, and with 48 hours’ notice, smoke fish per customers’ requests.Look for “Island Local” products, including Salt Spring Island mussels and Fanny Bay oysters, in the seafood department. The store also features a bivalve tank to ensure the highest quality, live shellfish.
- Quality standards and selection in the meat department – All products in the full-service meat department come from animals raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones. Whole Foods Market’s animal welfare standards are industry leading and include the Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating standards. Whole Foods Market’s Victoria store is proud to offer Canadian beef from Northern British Columbia and local poultry, including turkeys, sourced from the Fraser Valley. Other British Columbian producers include McLean Meats and Black Forest Meats.
- Highest quality produce– The Victoria store features locally sourced produce from growers such as Saanich Organics, Kildara Farms, Longview Farms, and Blue Root Farm.
- Prepared foods galore – A wide range of grab-and-go meal options, including burritos and tacos, artisan sandwiches and pizza, are available daily. A rotating hot bar and a salad bar with plenty of organic vegetables and fresh-cut fruit makes mealtime decisions quick and convenient. Everything made and sold by the prepared foods team complies with Whole Foods Market’s ingredient standards.
- Specialty department – Shoppers can find the finest local and organic artisan cheeses and a wide variety of pickles, olives, pates, fresh pastas, dips and nitrate-free cured meats. The specialty department has a thoughtfully curated selection of Island Local and B.C. produced products, including Paradise Island cheese, Little Qulicum cheese, Happy Days goat cheese, Kootenay Alpine cheese, Salt Spring Island cheese, Edible Gardens balsamic condiments, Natural Pasture cheese, Farm House Cheese, Golda’s Pesto, and Old Country Pasta.
- Bakery department – One of the highlights of the new Victoria store is the bakery department, featuring products from True Grain, and locally sourced ingredients such as Anita’s Flour, B.C. eggs, and Canadian milk.
- All cage-free eggs – Whole Foods Market sells only eggs that come from cage-free hens and will carry Island-sourced, free range and organic eggs from Island Egg.
Giving back to the community is one of Whole Foods Market’s core values. For the past several years, Vancouver Island residents and Whole Foods Market teams have discussed the community’s priorities and where Whole Foods Market resources might make the greatest impact outside the store. From those conversations, Whole Foods Market has identified several local nonprofit organizations and is building long-range partnerships with the groups to support their great work. One of these partners is The Mustard Seed, a nonprofit devoted to fighting hunger and supporting food access work in Greater Victoria. On opening day, the store’s team members will present a $2,000 contribution to The Mustard Seed. Whole Foods Market will continue to collaborate with The Mustard Seed on food rescue and advocacy work.
In 2016, the Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, awarded garden grants to four Vancouver Island schools; 17 Vancouver Island K-12 schools have received garden grants from the foundation since 2012. Whole Kids Foundation also funded farm-to-school grants at nine Vancouver Island schools in 2016. These grants engage students in gardening, cooking, preserving, purchasing and serving healthy local foods at school.
Hours: Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: 3587 Blanshard Street, Victoria, B.C.
Ann Marie Ricard
Source: Whole Foods Market