Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Store's Got a Whole Lot of Organic Going on; Whole Foods Shows Its Stuff in Tours before Grand Opening

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Store's Got a Whole Lot of Organic Going on; Whole Foods Shows Its Stuff in Tours before Grand Opening

Article excerpt

Byline: LARRY HANNAN

No one will ever mix up New York and Jacksonville, but Yoanna Thompson and her husband, Micah, said the new Whole Foods Market on San Jose Boulevard looks a lot like the one where they usually shop in New York.

This store is bigger than the one in New York and should be a great addition to the area, she said.

The couple, in Jacksonville visiting family, took a tour of the Whole Foods store Monday afternoon. The store will open to the general public at 9 a.m. Wednesday .

The Thompsons were among about 1,000 people who took tours of the new store two days. The store is in the Mandarin Landing Shopping Center, just north of Interstate 295.

Company employees offered tours every 15 minutes from noon to 8 p.m. People who took the tour got a complimentary bag of Whole Food items.

The Austin-based company offers natural and organic groceries.

Russ Benblatt, regional marketing director for Whole Foods, said there has been enormous demand for the new store because the company offers service other grocery stores can't provide.

"There's no good way to say this, but the chickens you will be buying in a few days are still alive today," Benblatt said.

Mandarin resident Mel Saunders liked what he saw because buying fresh food appeals to him.

This is the first Whole Foods Store in Jacksonville, with other Florida stores in Orlando, Palm Beach County and Winter Park.

Deniell and Lucy Rose were sitting outside the store waiting for their tour to begin. The mother and daughter had been fans of Whole Foods when they lived in New Jersey. Now living in St. Johns County, they expressed excitement at the grocer coming to Jacksonville.

"We loved it in New Jersey and we're looking forward to having the store again," daughter Lucy Rose said.

The store offers better produce and more organic food than any other store, mother Deniell Rose said. …

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