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A whole new world of grocery shopping

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A special invitation will soon be issued for southern Denton County residents to check out the new Whole Foods Market.

Denton County’s first Whole Foods Market opens Sept. 10 at The Shops at Highland Village, bringing a smorgasbord of natural and organic items closer to area residents.

“It will be the first store in Denton County, which is very exciting to us to be in a new market,” said Karen Lukin, spokesperson for Whole Foods Market.

The store will celebrate its opening with a giant Challah loaf of bread, entertainment and more at 7:30 a.m., 30 minutes before it officially opens. More details about the invitation will be posted online at www.CrossTimbersGazette.com and on The Cross Timbers Gazette Facebook page as the event draws near and additional information is available.

“We love to invite our guests to break bread with us,” Lukin said of the company’s style for celebrating a grand opening.

As the 10th location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the 38,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market is expected to draw shoppers from Lewisville to Denton to Justin, officials say.

“Whole Foods is a regional draw,” said Michael Leavitt, city manager of Highland Village, adding the store is not just a Highland Village store, but also for Flower Mound, Lantana, Bartonville, Argyle and surrounding communities.

“We’re very excited that they picked us,” he said.

From cosmetics to produce to pre-prepared meals and a salad bar, Whole Foods Market caters to the individual who is looking for items without preservatives and other chemicals and the convenience of either stopping by to spend time perusing the selection or popping in to grab a quick meal to go, Lukin said.

For those who have been to a Whole Foods Market, Lukin says this store will look different.

“No two stores look identical,” she said, adding that each location has many of the same products ranging from a wide assortment of produce to the full line of groceries and other products Whole Foods Market is known to carry.

A difference among the stores is the company’s commitment to procuring organic produce and other items locally.

“One thing important to us is to source locally as often as possible,” Lukin said. “That extends to more than the produce department.”

In Highland Village, company officials are planning to keep the store’s coffee bar open both earlier and later than at other locations. The coffee bar will open at 7:30 a.m. daily – 30 minutes before the daily opening at 8 a.m. – and will remain open until the store closes at 10 p.m.

“We know we’re at a very busy intersection and there are a lot of commuters,” Lukin said, adding that people in southwest Denton County are up early and out and about, ready to start their day.
Whole Foods Market, which Lukin said is the world’s leading natural and organic supermarket, provides easy-to-read labels free of the artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats and other multi-word chemical names found in other products.

“You’ll see easy-to-understand words like oats and brown sugar,” she said. “Parents tell us they are comfortable shopping for their children at our stores.”

Whole Foods Market also sports highly-trained individuals in each location, including trained butchers at their meat markets and fishmongers in their seafood departments. The company works with the Marine Stewardship Council to trace where the wholesale fish is bought, she said.
In addition, people on the go can work with the butchers or fishmongers to cut special grades of meat or de-vein the shrimp, which is done while the shopper continues to browse through the store, ready for pick-up at the end of their visit. Meats can be pre-marinated, oysters can be shucked and even fish can be steamed while you shop.

The store also will offer conveniences such as salad bars with a large variety of organic selections, pre-packaged meals ready to go for a couple, family or even a dinner party.

“Whether or not you tell your family you made it yourself is your option,” Lukin said.

Samples are available throughout the store for shoppers and, on Saturdays, a themed event might feature “Lawn chairs and Longnecks” where shoppers can taste summer foods and get a root beer float. Each Saturday is a different theme.

“We like to add an element of theater,” she said.

Whole Foods Market is one of more than 70 specialty shops and restaurants in the 351,631-square-foot open-air retail center on a 43.2-acre site at the northwest corner of FM 2499 and FM 407.

Purchased in March by AEW Capital Management, the retail center is under the management of Trademark Property Co. In April, Ravi Wadhwa was announced as general manager for The Shops at Highland Village.

The first Whole Foods Market opened in 1980 in Austin with a staff of 19. With sales estimated at $12.9 billion in fiscal year 2013, the company has more than 380 locations throughout the United Kingdom, Canada and 41 states in the U.S.

The Highland Village location, officials say, will serve a population that has been hungering for natural and organic foods and products.

“We have had a lot of requests to come to this part of North Texas,” Lukin said.

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