Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Whole Foods opens Food Blogger Heaven in North York

Today was like Christmas for me.  Why?  Well, because the Whole Foods at Yonge and Sheppard in the Hullmark Centre finally opened.  It was slated to open at 8am this morning.  I got in line at about 7:15am because the 1st 100 people received a Goodie Bag.  I met up with a couple of friends who got in line just before I got there and was joined by another friend just before the store finally opened at 8:45am.  There was a breaking bread ceremony and a live band playing outside just before they opened the store.

They also handed out free coffee, cupcakes and bananas to the people waiting outside in the windy and chilly lineup.   Sadly, there was a double line and when it was time to enter the people at the back of the line rushed in and tried to merge with the front of the line.  Luckily there was really no reason to rush in as there were plenty of samples all day for everyone and if you weren't in the line with the first 100 people you wouldn't have received a paper that gave you a gift bag on the way out.   You snooze you lose in this case.   So for those of us that got up early and waited in line we were richly rewarded with a very generous bag of food and samples.   I was even luckier because I got a $15 gift card for posting something on Instagram prior to the opening and as it turned out when I went to get my customer service to get my gift card they called the marketing person who was a girl named Janice whom I had met about 3 years ago at a blogger conference when she told me about the opening then.  I never expected to see her at the store a few years later but was pleasantly surprised.

I instagrammed up a storm of all these photos while I was waiting in line and then when I got in the store.  Once I got into the store I ran into fellow blogger and North York neighbour Libby who was as excited as I was about the store opening.  We madly roamed around the store taking photos and drooling at the sight of all the fresh beautiful aisles of food.

This Whole Foods store is the best one I have been to yet.  The only thing that is a bit lacking from the Yorkville Whole Foods is the giant cheese station but it makes up for it with a large and well laid out space.  It's a gorgeous store and my friend remarked that it had a New York feel about it.

What I personally love about the store is that it will accommodate all the single condo dwellers who don't cook or don't have space to stock a full pantry of food.   You can shop European style and pick up fresh meat, fish and vegetables and cook on the same day or you can purchase a single serving of pre prepped hot foods or the massive salad bar.   There is also a stir fry station and pizza and sushi counters.   Any diet is accommodated in this store.  One of the friends I was with is lactose intolerant and he picked up some lactose free cheese.  I was talking about one of the lactose free cream cheeses and one of the store staff pulled one out and scribbled something on it and said to take it to the cash and that it was on the store... free... I thought she was pulling one out to sample.   WoW was I surprised at that.  I know it was the first day but unbelievable service and everything was as good as it could be.

If you read my blog often you know that I don't give praise easily and like to tell it like it is.   While Whole Foods isn't a bargain grocery store like say No Frills, it is a quality store and you really do get what you pay for in freshness and a clean store and community contribution as well.

This week part of the proceeds of sales will be donated to 5 North York charities.  I love that it supports the surrounding community.   Those people that can afford to shop at Whole Foods are supporting those who might not be able to by contributing to community services like North York Arts and the North York YMCA and the Library and others.

To me this is a win win grocery store.  As a Food Revolution Day Ambassador I am really happy to support a company that promotes Organic and healthy products and fresh local food as much as possible.   While there is not perfect grocery store this one comes pretty close for me.

If you are a foodie like me don't go to the store hungry or you will buy out the whole store.

I am not a bar person but this will probably become my favourite local hangout from now on.

And on the plus side I tried their coffee this morning and had the Mocha and it was the best coffee I have had in this whole area.

So hopefully I will see you at Whole Foods if you are in the North York area.

Happy Shopping Foodies!

And this is all the stuff I got in the Goodie Bag that I got on my way out of the store. Worth the lineup.

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