PHOTOS: A Sneak Peek at the New Whole Foods

Ok, folks. If you don’t know about the new Whole Foods Market at 501 S. Bowman, you might want to check the calendar, because you are clearly behind the times, McFly.

The new location opens on Feb. 18 (with a preview party on Feb. 16), but we got to check it out a little early. Spoiler alert: It’s awesome. 

Credit: Blair Neel

Credit: Blair Neel

On our tour, we learned all about the expansion, including the rating systems they use for meat and produce that takes a product’s entire journey into account. It’s called “Whole Trade” and it’s like fair trade, but better.

Whole Foods is expanding its offerings of natural and organic products, with nary an artificial flavoring to be found. The salad bar and cookie stations saw significant upgrades, as well as a new candy island for the sweets lovers.

Credit: Blair Neel

The store’s selections have grown exponentially, with more of everything from organic cleaners to cheeses to roll-your-own sushi. If you’re not exactly sure what you want, ask for suggestions and the employees will offer suggestions, recipes, ingredients and tips to help get you going.

There is also an in-store healthy eating specialist who will answer any and all questions you have about certain diets or special protocols, whether it be clean eating, gluten free or otherwise.

Credit: Blair Neel

That’s our “Team Member Favorite,” too.

Credit: Blair Neel

Need to hit the road? Whole Foods is now offering more grab-and-go meals, including sandwiches, pizza by the slice and seafood. You can also hit the smoothie, juice and coffee bar to kickstart your morning, or maybe the beer and wine bar to unwind with friends after work. With a dozen brews on tap, the bar will feature your local favorites like Lost Forty and Diamond Bear.

Credit: Blair Neel

Other features include:

  • Electric car charging station and bike racks
  • Barbecue bar featuring meats smoked in-store and a “pit master” to make sure it’s done right
  • Store lighting that automatically dims based on light use from 21 skylights
  • Expanded (4X!) seafood department (they’ll cut, fillet, season and debone your fish for free – just ask!)
  • Reclaimed and repurposed wood, including gym bleachers repurposed as a bar countertop
  • Signature sandwich menu created just for Little Rock, with build-your-own-sandwich options
  • Indoor and outdoor community seating

Credit: Blair Neel

What might be our favorite feature, however, is the newly implemented concierge service. Some days there just isn’t enough time to get it all done. That’s when you contact the in-store personal shoppers (or go online), tell them what you need, then come pick up your already gathered groceries. They’re also great about helping with recipes or suggestions if you’re interested.

Basically, we’re just really excited about this.

Credit: Blair Neel

The doors open officially at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday with a bread-breaking ceremony, specials, entertainment, activities and tastings all day. Plus, if you’re one of the first 500 customers, you get a free Whole Foods reusable shopping bag.

For more updates on their progress, follow the Little Rock Whole Foods on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Credit: Blair Neel

Related Articles