NEWS

Destin Whole Foods to open next week (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Savannah Vasquez
svasquez@thedestinlog.com
The finishing touches are being made on the Whole Foods Market in Destin. The store will open to the public on April 20.

The long awaited day is nearly here; Destin Whole Foods grand opening is set for next week and already the store is shaping up for this unique coastal market.

PHOTOS: View photos from the new market >>

“We are super excited to be in Destin,” said Marketing Specialist Jessica Foy. “I think having an organic grocer is important. This is a super unique location because it is more satellite.”

Of the 421 Whole Foods stores across the nation, 26 are located in the state of Florida and Destin’s location will now be the furthest northwest store in the state.

Regional Associate Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Jacobs said opening a store in Destin came down to customer demand.

“We have a whole team in our global office and we listen to our customers,” she said. “They saw the need and so now here we are.”

So what makes Whole Foods different from other grocery stores in the area?

“The main difference about Whole Foods are our quality standards,” Foy said. “There are over 700 ingredients that we don’t allow in any of our products but the main ones to note are we have no artificial sweeteners, no artificial coloring or flavoring, no preservatives, no hydrogenated fats and no high fructose corn syrups.”

The same quality standards, Foy said, can be found in every department of the store from meats raised with no anti-biotics to eggs exclusively from cage-free hens.

From one end of the store to the other, shopping in Whole Foods is an experience for the senses. Smells waft up from the freshly made hot food bar, fire-roasted pizza oven, twirling gourmet hot dogs and of course the bakery. From there, follow your nose to the artisan cheese and beer growler section.

“The cool thing about the cheese is they can cut and you can taste any cheese you would like, and these cheeses are insane,” Foy said. “For the most part, you can sample pretty much everything from our store if you ask an associate.”

Another aspect that sets Whole Foods apart is the emphasis on local vendors.

“We have a total of about 10 local Destin vendors,” Jacobs said, listing Raw & Juicy, The Honey Hutch and Harbor Docks fresh seafood to name a few. “As far as local to Florida items go, throughout the store we have hundreds.”

The interior of Whole Foods in Destin is unlike any other Whole Foods store in the country as this location was custom tailored to reflect the atmosphere of the Emerald Coast.

“We actually have our own store development team that does an assessment of each area before we move into our stores,” said Jacobs. “In this location, we have incorporated tons of emeralds and blues and if you look closely you will see lots of Destin puns throughout the store.”

Sure enough, the name of the bar within the store is dubbed the “Lucky Catch Bar & Bites” and along the back wall above the seafood section reads the phrase “World’s Luckiest Seafood Village.”

And it wouldn’t be Whole Foods without mention of their produce section.

“Oh Lord, what don’t we offer,” said Produce Team Leader Justin Weisensel. “We’re going to have everything that a gourmet chef would need and we are going to have it regularly, and our conventional items are priced either at or lower than our competitors.”

Destin’s Whole Foods, located at 4402 Legendary Drive, will host a grand opening Bread Breaking ceremony starting at 8:45 a.m. April 20 with Destin’s Mayor Scott Fischer. At 9 a.m., the doors will open and the first 500 customers will receive mystery gift cards valued from $5 to $50 with one lucky customer receiving a card valued at $500. For more information visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com or call 269-7400.

“Starting at 7:30 a.m. we will have our flex bus out in the parking lot,” said Marketing Specialist Jessica Foy. “That’s our retro Airstream trailer that will be serving up Allegro coffee to the waiting customers. We will also have a local D.J. and of course we have a lot of awe-some grand opening specials.”

Wanna Go?