Sept. 21--CONCORD -- Whole Foods will land a 365 store -- its smaller format concept -- in the Bay Area this December, with more to follow.
The grocery chain revealed that its Concord 365 store, the first of its 365 brand in Northern California, will open Dec. 6 in the new Veranda shopping center, the 375,000-square-foot development on a 30-acre former Chevron campus on Diamond Boulevard. The shopping center is slated to open Oct. 27, so the 365 grocery store will follow several weeks later.
A 365 store will also open in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood at 5110 Telegraph Ave., as well as one in San Francisco at 1600 Jackson St., although the company has not disclosed opening dates for those two stores.
"Having Whole Foods in Concord makes total sense," said John Montagh, economic development manager for the city of Concord, adding that it's evidence that major brands are seeking out Concord for its central location in the Bay Area and large number of residents and workers.
He said he is looking forward to having a grocery store in that neighborhood that offers organic produce and high-quality food. "It will provide that element of grocery shopping that's not in the market currently."
The 365 stores will include a curated mix of products that, as in other Whole Foods stores, are free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated fats, according to a company news release.
The 365 stores -- of which there are currently six open nationally, with more planned -- are typically about 10,000 square feet smaller than a typical Whole Foods store (the latest Whole Foods Market to open in Walnut Creek is about 37,500 square feet).
"We're excited to bring the Whole Foods Market 365 experience to Northern California," said Rob Twyman, Whole Foods Market regional president, in a news release. "This store will be our first 365 in the region, and we think Concord, with its strong sense of community, is a fantastic fit for shoppers looking for a streamlined grocery experience focused on convenience, quality and value."
Whole Foods has touted its 365 brand for its value. By stocking mostly its own 365 brand products, it was able to lower prices on some products across the 365 stores. In initial announcements about the concept in 2015, the company said it wanted to "bring healthy, fresh, affordable foods to more communities."
But as part of Amazon's purchase of the grocery chain, a deal that was finalized Monday, the e-commerce giant promised to lower prices at regular Whole Foods stores (which have drawn some customers' ire in recent years for high prices), leaving questions as to whether Whole Foods' 365 stores will still be cheaper than the traditional stores. In Bay Area stores, discounts appeared on some items immediately following Amazon's purchase of the grocery store.
A spokeswoman for Whole Foods declined to comment on prices at the upcoming Concord 365 store or how prices at 365 stores compare with the original stores, only saying that the 365 stores will focus on convenience, including stocking pre-cut meat, seafood and cheese and other grab-and-go items.
The 365 stores give Amazon another grocery brand in a smaller footprint, which has been a trend among retailers recently. Target, for example, has opened small-format stores with large selections of grab-and-go food items in the Bay Area, including in Berkeley and San Francisco.
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