Next month, the long saga of the Silver Lake Whole Foods will finally reach its culmination. On May 25, the three year journey from Ralphs to Whole Foods ends with the opening of the chain's first Whole Foods 365 supermarket.
As far back as 2013, many shoppers were lamenting the demise of the Silver Lake Ralphs, further troubled by the news that its replacement would be an expensive Whole Foods. Surely this was a clear indicator of that dreaded, unstoppable gentrification, some large corporate chain wiping out one more affordable shopping destination for the neighborhood. When Whole Foods finally revealed its plans, they said no. This would be no regular Whole Foods, this would be an affordable Whole Foods, a Whole Foods...for Millennials.
Meet 365, the new Millennial-focused, Whole Foods-branded grocery chain making its nationwide debut in Silver Lake. Affordability and youth-oriented trendiness are key to the new chain. This ain't your daddy's Whole Foods.
According to Fortune, Whole Foods plans to keep 365's costs down by creating a smaller, standardized, and less elaborate design for the chain. At a total size of 28,000 square feet, the 365 location in Silver Lake is only a little more than half the size of an average Whole Foods. There will be no cheesemongers or butchers on duty. (Please do not say this means cubed cheese samples are out too!)
So the Baby Boomers got cheesemongers in their Whole Foods, and the Millennials get the dressed down pre-packaged stuff. But lest one think the 365 store will simply be some food version of a Ross Dress for Less, cheap goods strewn about a hellish fluorescent wasteland, Whole Foods has announced several fancy features of the new store. These are the amenities that Whole Foods hopes will help them "curate a unique experience" for Millennial shoppers.
Here's what they're offering:
- Coffee/beer bar serving craft brews, fresh coffee, and food
- Online grocery shopping and delivery options
- Grab-and-go tea station
- Vegan restaurant
Then there's the Friends of 365 program that partners with independent vendors courting similar demographics to set up shops within the grocery store where they can sell their wares. Nothing solid has been announced, but Whole Foods threw out a few potential businesses that could grab up some space, including record shops and (our favorite) tattoo parlors.
Two more 365 stores will be rolled out in Oregon and Washington later this year, and 10 additional 365 stores are planned for 2017. However, for now it's a totally cool thing that only Silver Lake knows about and other cities just wouldn't get.
Oh, and one more time, just because people love to read the word so much: Millennials.
- Whole Foods Reveals Details About Its New Millennial-Focused Chain [Fortune]
- First 365 by Whole Foods Market™ to open May 25 in Silver Lake, Calif. [Press Release]
- Of Course the Silver Lake Whole Foods Could Have a Tattoo Parlor Inside [Curbed LA]
- Silver Lake is Getting the First "Affordable" Whole Foods [Curbed LA]