by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing
Whole Foods Market in Carrollwood is open! Driving past on November 1, I was pleased at how busy it looked. Little did I know it would take me 4 tries to get in. Every parking spot was taken, cars snaked around the parking lot, and a police car (or two) was needed to direct traffic. I gave up and returned another day.
When I did get in, I noticed some of the ways that Whole Foods Market redefines what a business can be:
- It’s not just food, it’s education. Information is everywhere in the store. They label where their seafood comes from, their produce, and whether a product is part of the non-GMO Project or not. If I want more details, their website provides it. It’s not slick advertising – just lots of information presented in simple, matter-of-fact terms. The sustainability messages are neither heavy-handed nor swept under the rug. They are just there as part of normal business.
- They lead in the sustainability space while admitting there is further to go. That candor is refreshing and there’s nuance instead of assertion. On their “Green Mission” page, they write, “Do we have a perfect track record? Nope. Have we found solutions for all of the green issues affecting our stores? Not yet. But we are working on it.” Businesses can excel at simplifying complex information. They can make it easier for consumers to understand the impacts of their choices. Business can play a key role in creating a more sustainable future, and that process will be a long-term, opportunity-laden journey.
- It’s not just food, it’s community. Granted, Whole Foods wanted to make a great impression with its 5-day opening extravaganza. I’d say they succeeded. But this store has a whole calendar of events for November, including cooking classes, demonstrations and tours of the store. They even have a tour for “eating healthy on a budget” – a clear acknowledgement both of current tough economic times and the fact that they don’t have Walmart prices. That makes Whole Foods not just a place to “grab and go.” It’s also a place you might want to hang out.
So if the crazy parking situation is any indication, this new Whole Foods will do quite well. As we head towards Thanksgiving, those Tampa residents who got new jobs and those who now have better food choices available have one more thing to be thankful for.