With department names like Fanno Creek Pizzeria and Café Conestoga, the new Whole Foods Market on Southwest Scholls Ferry Road wants to feel like its a part of the community.
The new grocery store opened its doors on Wednesday after months of renovation of the longstanding Lambs on Scholls Thriftway store in the Greenway Town Center near Southwest 121st Avenue.
Its the third Whole Foods Market to open in Washington County, and store spokeswoman Kristin Kolasinski said it fills a void needed on the Westside.
If you look at a map of the Westside and see where shoppers are coming from, theres a gap, Kolasinski said. We have shoppers coming from Bridgeport and Tanasbourne where the companys other stores are located but we dont have a location thats super close to us here.
The company announced last June that it would be taking over the former Thriftway, sparking a $6 million remodel of the shopping center. Crews installed wood paneled exteriors to the businesses, made parking improvements and added energy-efficient lighting.
Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, is known for its upscale marketing, and local, organic and natural food selection.
The 37,000-square-foot store is the first in Portland to offer fresh-squeezed orange juice made in-store, a growler station to fill up on local beers and a first-of-its-kind fish-fry program.
Seven days a week you can come in and buy fish, and they will fry it up for you, Kolasinski said. Fish and chips, clams, salmon, its all hot and made to order.
Its also the first Whole Foods in Oregon to smoke its own salmon in-store and will feature more than 500 products from local vendors, Kolasinski said, including Wild Friends, a peanut butter company started by two college students from Tualatin.
Home sweet home?
The store is not far from Bull Mountain, an area with a reputation for wealthy, health-conscious consumers.
But many of the people who live closer to the store are not the traditional Whole Foods shopper.
In the neighborhood directly across the street from the store, the average median household income is about $37,800 a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 22 percent of those families have been on Food Stamps within the past 12 months.
Kolasinski said there is room for everyone at the store, no matter their income level.
There is the Whole Paycheck nickname out there, and we are working really hard to disprove that, Kolasinski said.
On shelves amongst the vegan mayonnaise, kale chips and GMO-free eggs is the companys private label 365 Everyday Value, which is designed to be a more affordable option than some of the stores other items, Kolasinski said.
Yes, we have specialty items, but we also have our 365 line, which is really approachable. The price point is equivalent to what you will find at other grocery stores, and its also high-quality, she said. You can shop here, and we wont take your whole paycheck.
On its first day, it donated more than $1,000 to the Good Neighbor Center homeless shelter on Southwest Greenburg Road, and worked with 90 second-graders from Mary Woodward Elementary School to paint small bird statues, which decorate the stores exterior.
We want to reflect the local neighborhood, Kolasinski said. That is interweaved throughout the whole store.
Even its taco stand is named Monte Toro Spanish for Bull Mountain.
We want this to be a place where community members can gather and hang out, she said.
We are going to try a lot of events in the first three months and see what the community wants, Kolasinski said. Whether thats bringing in a farmer to talk about farm-to-table stuff, or movie screenings out on the patio, or healthy cooking classes. We want to fit the communitys needs.