Whole Foods Market has a tradition of incorporating the surrounding community in to each of their 300+ stores across North America and the UK. But how does one capture the essence of a neighborhood named one of the 10best in America, described as everything from "Hipster Hollow" to "The Gayborhood" to "...eclectic and urbane...a thriving art, museum and cultural scene"? At the new Whole Foods location set to open later this week at 701 Waugh Drive in Montrose, it's done with bold use of color, green amenities, and a spotlight on local art.
We could talk about the breakfast taco bar and the barbecue bar, the massive meat smoker, the enormous selection of beer and wine, or the fish market-style seafood department -- but you can read about all of that on Eating Our Words. Art Attack was naturally more interested in aspects like the GLBT rainbow-influenced color scheme, abstractly represented all over the store, from multicolored window panes at the entrance to stained wood panels on the wall. We were also particularly fond of the "Art-O-Mat", a refurbished cigarette machine residing in the café area, yielding cigarette-pack-sized original art for a mere $5, and a large "Community Paint by Number" mural of an art car waiting to be completed at an in-store event on Friday evening. On display here and there are works from local artists including photographers David A. Brown and Syd Moen, a sculptural homage to Lightnin' Hopkins by renowned graphic artist Pen Morrison, Celeste Tammarielo, Lisa Chow, and the Cuban-born painter Julio Crews, Montrose resident since 1984.
In keeping with the all-natural, organic philosophy central to Whole Foods Market, the Montrose location is filled with cutting edge, eco-friendly amenities and recycled materials. The ample parking lot contains two electric car chargers and a 1,500 gallon cistern used to collect the water used to irrigate the landscape. Repurposed milk crates frame the dairy department, many still retaining the tags and handwritten labels of their former life. The lighting on the grounds is exclusively LED, with a high-tech solar tracking feature that brightens or dims the aisle illumination based on the amount of natural sunlight enter through skylights dotted along the exposed ceilings. Even the shopping carts are smarter, with an antimicrobial finish and a non-porous coating for easy cleaning.
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The Whole Foods Montrose location will open to the public on Wednesday, June 22.