Whole Foods Creates It’s All Good 365 Swag

June 21, 2016

365 By Whole Foods Market

With Whole Foods planning to become neighborhoods by opening a store in Harlem, now just as they have succeeded by figuring out the food predilections of a whole generation of pickier Harlem eaters, the company is now hoping to win a second time the same way.
Only in this case, the 800-pound gorilla of the American better-for-you food movement has launched a separate chain of lower-priced stores called 365 by Whole Foods Market, aiming at millennial consumers who have been less than enthusiastic about original chain’s formula of high prices, huge selection, many helpful staffers and overall food information overload.

…customers can sample the business model that the company plans to use in at least 18 other stores for which it has leased space in millennial-heavy spots around the country.

The first 365 store is now open in Los Angeles, and customers can sample the business model that the company plans to use in at least 18 other stores for which it has leased space in millennial-heavy spots around the country.

Every month that passes, Whole Foods executives must be hoping more fervently that 365 succeeds. That’s because sales growth at the company’s eponymous stores has leveled out as the chain’s traditional boomer and Gen X cohorts rebel against “whole paycheck” prices by frequenting the organic sections at Kroger, Wal-Mart and other supermarkets. They have also been favoring Aldi, the German-owned discounter (owned by the same parent as Trader Joe’s) that offers organic and other healthful fare but with smaller and less complex stores, fewer staff and lower prices.

…a whole host of features and touches meant to bring customers back again and again. Low prices certainly were among them, plus the notable lack of staff compared with a Whole Foods, including the lack of a butcher or cheesemonger.

In a clever review of the first 365, Bloomberg went with a typical millennial in tow and noted a whole host of features and touches meant to bring customers back again and again. Low prices certainly were among them, plus the notable lack of staff compared with a Whole Foods, including the lack of a butcher or cheesemonger – sounds like Harlem.


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365 By Whole Foods Market

Interestingly, too, the 365 store listed prices on digital tablets instead of on “chalkboards with photos of farmers.” It also sported “Instagrammable” murals and had a sign out front that offered “free air guitars.” There was a beverage bar called Allegro (a Starbucks-lite space) that already seemed like a popular hangout for the target audience.

And 365 managers apparently pay a lot of attention to the store’s playlist, because consumers can subscribe to it on Spotify.

It’s all part of a 365 culture that is vibe first rather than food first. Will it help make Whole Foods more popular and enduringly relevant to the crucial millennial demographic

Answers should be coming soon.

Note: Edited for Harlem World Magazine.

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