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Whole Foods opens on Scholls Ferry Road

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Whole Foods employees prepare the shelves for the stores new location in Tigard.With department names like “Fanno Creek Pizzeria” and “Café Conestoga,” the new Whole Foods Market on Southwest Scholls Ferry Road wants to feel like it’s a part of the community.

The announced last June opened its doors on Wednesday after months of renovation of the longstanding Lambs on Scholls Thriftway store in the Greenway Town Center near Southwest 121st Avenue.

It’s the third Whole Foods Market to open in Washington County, and store spokeswoman Kristin Kolasinski said it fills a void needed on the Westside.

“If you look at a map of the Westside and see where shoppers are coming from, there’s a gap,” Kolasinski said. “We have shoppers coming from Bridgeport and Tanasbourne” — where the company’s other stores are located — “but we don’t have a location that’s super close to us here.”

The company new grocery store that it would be taking over the former Thriftway, sparking a $6 million remodel of the shopping center. Crews installed wood paneled exteriors to the businesses, made parking improvements and added energy-efficient lighting.

Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, is known for its upscale marketing, and local, organic and natural food selection.

The 37,000-square-foot store is the first in Portland to offer fresh-squeezed orange juice made in-store, a growler station to fill up on local beers and a first-of-its-kind fish-fry program.

“Seven days a week you can come in and buy fish, and they will fry it up for you,” Kolasinski said. “Fish and chips, clams, salmon, it’s all hot and made to order.”

It’s also the first Whole Foods in Oregon to smoke its own salmon in-store and will feature more than 500 products from local vendors, Kolasinski said, including Wild Friends, a peanut butter company started by two college students from Tualatin.

Home sweet home?

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Whole Foods employees prepare the cheese department at the stores new location in Tigard.The store is not far from Bull Mountain, an area with a reputation for wealthy, health-conscious consumers.

But many of the people who live closer to the store are not the traditional “Whole Foods” shopper.

In the neighborhood directly across the street from the store, the average median household income is about $37,800 a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 22 percent of those families have been on Food Stamps within the past 12 months.

Kolasinski said there is room for everyone at the store, no matter their income level.

“There is the ‘Whole Paycheck’ nickname out there, and we are working really hard to disprove that,” Kolasinski said.

On shelves amongst the vegan mayonnaise, kale chips and GMO-free eggs is the company’s private label “365 Everyday Value,” which is designed to be a more affordable option than some of the store’s other items, Kolasinski said.

“Yes, we have specialty items, but we also have our ‘365’ line, which is really approachable. The price point is equivalent to what you will find at other grocery stores, and it’s also high-quality,” she said. “You can shop here, and we won’t take your whole paycheck.”

Community hangout

On its first day, it donated more than $1,000 to the Good Neighbor Center homeless shelter on Southwest Greenburg Road, and worked with 90 second-graders from Mary Woodward Elementary School to paint small bird statues, which decorate the store’s exterior.

“We want to reflect the local neighborhood,” Kolasinski said. “That is interweaved throughout the whole store.”

Even its taco stand is named Monte Toro — Spanish for Bull Mountain.

“We want this to be a place where community members can gather and hang out,” she said.

“We are going to try a lot of events in the first three months and see what the community wants,” Kolasinski said. “Whether that’s bringing in a farmer to talk about ‘farm-to-table’ stuff, or movie screenings out on the patio, or healthy cooking classes. We want to fit the community’s needs.”



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