The first of Whole Foods' 365 stores hits the Los Angeles area in late May, and more will soon follow: A second store opens July 14 in Lake Oswego, Oregon, an affluent suburb just south of Portland.
The new brand is intended to challenge the grocer's "whole paycheck" image with a lower price point and a smaller store footprint, or, as the company explains via press release, provide a "streamlined, quality-meets-value shopping experience."
Each store will also incorporate its "Friends of 365" initiative, showcasing local food retailers and vendors with their own in-store locations; the Lake Oswego store will include Oregon's Next Level Burger, a "plant-based take on the classic American burger joint" that will also serve kombucha and craft beer, and Canteen, a café and juice bar. (Sorry, no tattoo parlor here.) "Oregon is known throughout the country for an extremely creative and diverse food scene and we wanted to find partners that would be reflective of those qualities," says Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods Market.
A third 365 store is slated to hit Bellevue, Washington later this fall, and as many as 10 additional stores will follow in 2017. With sales recently on the decline, the high-dollar grocer is hoping the 365 stores — which will heavily feature its own 365 Everyday Value brand of products alongside other brands — can help it reach a broader demographic.