This store is massive at 75,000 square feet with about 75,000 items. This store is apparently the third largest behind the one in London and Austin, TX. It boasts a variety of new features such as:
Chicago food venues--like mini restaurants with no wait time
Exclusive product line--products only available to Whole Foods, that store, and local--
International cookie club--a variety of cookies made in the store
Graffitti artist--mural of the skyline of Chicago, plus lots of other colorful decorations
Music stage--entertainment while people dine, shop, and buy
400 parking spaces--it is free with purchase
Automated express check-out--purpose is to reduce waiting time in lines
The store also has more trail mix stations, seven-themed eateries, more children's products, outdoor seating along the river, even a place to dock your kayak!
The idea is to have a 'community" feel, the feel of Chicago, where people can shop, dine, lounge with their computer, listen to music, etc.
I'm curious to anyone who is in Chicago, have you gone to the store? What were your thoughts?
In some ways, I love this, but another part of me is thinking about just how much selection there is. I already have a hard enough time in a small Whole Foods or other natural market store on deciding which items to buy. Would this make it even more overwhelming for someone like me? Would I still be too busy pouring and comparing the calorie counts of items, taking away from the "experience" of the store?
What are people's thoughts? Is this a good thing? And with the economy the way it is, does it affect whether you go to Whole Foods? Personally, it has for me, though I miss shopping there as frequently. I could if I made more money though. Good incentive. ;-)
As an aside note, I've also noticed a trend in general with some of the grocery store chains revamping and expanding. Kroger's comes to mind with their new "Kroger Marketplace" expansion with not only foods, but a larger sushi bar, larger coffee/espresso bar, furniture, kitchen items, etc.
Note--Other articles and photos:
Whole Foods opening...
New Whole Foods store
Photos of store