Most of the organic fruits and veggie have yet to hit shelves, but Mid-City residents have just days left before they can shop at their own Whole Foods. The long anticipated Broad Street location is opening their doors on Tuesday, February 4. NoDef got a sneak peek, plus some high resolution photos from the Whole Foods marketing team.
The entire space is 60,000 sq. ft., and Whole Foods comprises 25,000 sq. ft. Although the Arabella St. location may appear larger due to their vaulted ceilings, the two are actually the same size. The Arabella St. location is located in an old streetcar barn. The Broad St. Whole Foods is taking over the building that used to house Schwegmann's.
Liberty’s Kitchen, the Tulane Teaching Kitchen, and Broad St. Community Connections share the space. The four groups share a common room, located adjacent to Whole Foods’ entrance.
One of the reasons for the extra space is the parking set up. There is a ramp on the side of the store that brings drivers to rooftop parking, in addition to the sizeable parking area in front of the store.
The new location will employ 125, 80 of whom are new to the Whole Foods team.
Marketing team leader Lindsay Morton walked NoDef through the store, showcasing the soon-to-be-stocked shelves. The aisle signs show some regional pride with the classic New Orleans street tiles displaying nearby roads such as "Bienville" in the iconic pale blue and white.
The rep for the new location touts the store's focus on locally sourced items. There are 80 local vendors sold out of the Whole Body (cosmetics) section. There are 115 bakery items that come from Breads on Oak, District Donuts, Cake Cafe, and Laurel St. Bakery.
“It’s great to have that one-on-one connection with local vendors,” said Morton. There are a total of 330 locally made items to be sold out of the Broad St. location.
In addition to the shopping, nearby residents can learn about healthy eating through some of the programs hosted inside of the Broad St. store.
"We are going to have healthy eating educators, as well as healthy tours and classes," explained Morton. "They'll be utilizing the space upstairs."
There is the standard seating area, an espresso bar, and a number of pre-made meals that come in "family style" sizes, according to Morton. Unique to the Mid-City location is the gumbo bar, completed by Liberty's Kitchen.
Another quirky addition to the store is the Art-o-Matic vending machine. The vintage cigarette machine has been transformed to sell small crafts, created by local artists, for $5 a pop. Proceeds will go towards Whole Planet as a default, or whichever non profit Whole Foods is partnering with at any given time.
Photos via Whole Foods Market. Note: The last two photos were taken by NoDef