When the Decatur Whole Foods Market 365 opened Dec. 12 it quickly filled with shoppers as it—along with the Buckhead store that opened the same day—became the 11th and 12th stores nationwide to open under the grocer’s 365 concept. The Decatur store is one of the anchors for the new North Decatur Square shopping plaza at North Decatur Road and Church Street.
In a news release, Whole Foods describes the Whole Foods Market 365 concept as offering “exceptional value and unique products in a fun and convenient new format that makes healthy living easy and affordable, all while maintaining Whole Foods Market’s rigorous quality standards including no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives, as well as no hydrogenated fats and no high-fructose corn syrup. The very best quality food at low prices.”
Whole Foods, founded in 1980, has always focused on serving health-conscious shoppers; the 365 stores provide such food at popular prices, according to Jeff Garrison, a partner along with developer S.T. Collins in the new 35,000-square-foot store.
A news release describes the 365 brand as offering “products that range from kitchen staples to seasonal favorites and the latest culinary trends at affordable prices without sacrificing quality.”
Every Whole Foods is unique, and the Decatur store has features shopper won’t find at any other place, Garrison said, pointing out the 5,000-square-foot mezzanine that offers a bird’s eye view of the store and houses Pour on Ponce, a dining area that offers quick serve foods and beverages, including locally and nationally sourced beer, wine and cider, a free arcade and access to an outside park area.
“We’re licensed to allow patrons to take their beer and wine purchases outside to the park area,” Garrison said. He called the wi-fi equipped mezzanine area a great place to get away from a home office, have a meal or a snack and continue working. “It’s defiantly more than a grocery store. We sometimes use the term ‘grocerteria’ to define it.” In addition to the mezzanine food area, there is a cafeteria on the main level along with hot pizza and other ready-to-eat foods. “If someone wants to get a pizza downstairs and bring it up here and have a beer with it, that’s fine,” he noted.
Garrison said the health-conscious Decatur area is an ideal location for the new Whole Foods Market 365. “There’s easy access for people who live in Tucker, Stone Mountain and, of course, Decatur. It’s a great amenity for the people who live in the apartment and condo complexes that have recently gone up in this area. I have a friend who works at DeKalb Medical Center and eats paleo. Here she can find a wide variety of foods that fit her diet. There also are many choices for people who are on a vegan or gluten-free diet or who prefer to limit their carbohydrate intake.
Along with traditional grocery items, the new store offers a wide variety of “grab and go” items—both ready-to-eat and dishes that only require warming. “This place is ideal for busy families that also want to eat well,” Garrison said.
North Decatur Square, he pointed out, has several restaurants and businesses focused on supporting healthful lifestyles.
Whole Foods is scheduled to soon open two stores within the store: Atlanta-based dtox juice with a menu of juices, smoothies, acai, matcha and dragon fruit bowls, nut-based yogurt, plant-based salads, as well as cleanses made with organic and local ingredients and Loteria Grill, a Mexican cuisine-focused restaurant with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.