Many people celebrate the natural & organic food chain Whole Foods because - as John Mackey, chairman and one of the original owners of Whole Foods - has said “There’s no inherent reason why business cannot be ethical, socially responsible, and profitable.”
For those who want quality organic food married with convenience, when you live near Bloor & Avenue Road in downtown Toronto, this is where you go!
Recently sold to Amazon, this upscale grocer had a reputation for inflated pricing that Amazon is looking to change. They're investing in a new Amazon-friendly system (including integrating Amazon Prime as the Whole Foods rewards program) and making deep price cuts to endear customers to their 13 new Canadian stores. Read: "Whole Foods Just Lowered Prices At All Toronto Stores". So far, they're doing a decent job of shedding their 'premium' reputation; Bloomberg estimates a 25% rise in customer traffic! Let's take a look at some popular items:
Turns out, Whole Foods prices aren't that much different from, say, a Loblaws! While the mark up on some items may be slightly higher, they are aren't lying about the superior quality of their offerings. Fresh is the law, and there's a culture here built around organic food and ethical growing practices. You want to grind your own nut butter? Head to Whole Foods! Moreover, there's a certain satisfaction in knowing that many of the extra dollars are going toward things like paying fair wages and assisting the underprivileged. Want to know what I mean? Read on...
The company has also cultivated three distinct foundations: Whole Planet ("We empower the world’s poorest people with microcredit, giving them a chance to create or expand a home-based business to lift themselves and their families out of poverty"), Whole Cities ("Our mission is to improve individual and community health through collaborative partnerships, education, and broader access to nutritious food in the communities we serve"), and Whole Kids ("We support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness"). Whomever said you can't dine on ideals obviously hadn't stepped into a Whole Foods. Teaching the world about healthier eating, one community at a time? That's a cause I think we can all get behind.
Just because Whole Foods is funding major projects an initiatives in areas like sub Saharan Africa, doesn't mean they don't also take good care of their employees here in Canada!
Falling under their mission of increased sustainability and commitment to social and economic change, Whole Foods pays its workers a solid living wage—its lowest earners (usually porters or maintenance staff) are paid $11.57/hour and the average employee wage is $18.89 —with excellent benefits and health care. No executive makes more than 14 times the employee average - not even John Mackey.
Whole Foods truly is helping nourish both people and the planet. And in the process they're setting a higher quality standard for food growers, distributors, and retailers! They're creating an environment where everyone feels like their individual needs are being met. While many grocers let the products take centre stage, few deliver the exclusivity felt when walking through the entrance of Whole Foods.
Here in Toronto, there are three Whole Foods stores downtown - one in Leaside, on at Yonge and Sheppard, and my foavourite, at Hazelton Lanes in Yorkville!
Hazelton Lanes Shopping Centre is located at 87 Avenue Road and the ground and lower levels of a condominium complex. It's sits amidst a wealth of specialty shops and boutiques that dot Yorkvilles quiet side streets, and is neighbours with a Howard Johnson and an upscale Equinox gym.
We all know that Whole Foods markets are big on locally-csourced and organically grown fruits and vegetables; there are plenty of large signs hanging aroudn the market to tell you so! They also are very concious about selling meat that has not been treated with antibiotics or preservatives. Again, nothing ground-breaking. But if you happen to have celiac Deisease, you know how frustratingly limited gluten-free sections can be in grocery stores. Not so, here! If you have a gluten allergy, the alternatives are plentiful and well-marked. As are the options that are wheat free, dairy free, low in fat, sugar or sodium, and even strictly conform to unique diets, like the Palleo diet. Incredible!
This particular location provides some pretty hip architecture and decor - like the visually-arresting atrium - two separate seating spaces, as well as its Whole Hearth Café, which sells lunch and coffee. All ingredients used at the café are natural or organic! In fact, Whole Foods’ salad and hot food bars sell more volume than any other grocery staple in its Canadian locations. The last quarter's stats show that 19% of store sales came from prepared foods and bakery.
As a part of the Troonto community, the Whole Food market at Hazelton Lanes does their best ot give back. They hold community events, like Cereal Saturdays, where kids can enjoy free cereal and cartoons! Further helping the area's kids, this Whole Foods market - through the WHole Kids Foundation - provides nearby schools with salad bars, garden grants ,and other resources that support education and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. Pretty neat, eh?
There are plenty of other perks to further endear you to this grocer that can drectly enhance or elevate your food sourcing. First, they offer a Shop & Delivery service - which I've used!! - where sendinga single email cna have your favourite fare showing up on your doorstep! The fee for them to grab your picks of the shelves is $10. The delivery charge starts at $15 but may increase the further from the store that you live. Read more here!
Second, they offer catering services to spice up your next party or gathering! All you have to do is browse the menu, here, make your selections, email them 48 hours in advance of your event, and - bam! You'll be impressing your guests with everything from breakfasts, appetizers, and side dishes to entrees, party platters and desserts! And since there are picky guests at every party, you can tell them this food has:
No artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners. No hydrogenated oils. No added trans fats. Meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics. Seafood with no antibiotics, preservatives, or growth hormones. Featuring organic & local ingredients. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices!
Pretty swish, huh? More info here. And if you're feeling overwhelmed this holiday seaso - or you're inviting inlaws that you reeeeally want to impress - Whole Foods is prepare helathy holiday meals for you and yours. Check out the Yorkville market's available dish choices here!
Next time you need to restock you rcupboards and refrigerator, I challenge you to cast of yoour preconceptions and visit Whole Foods Market at 87 Avenue Road. Maybe you'll be impressed, or maybe you'll find it's not much different than your usual grocery shopping haunts. Either way, you'll walk away with high-qualit, nutricious food for your fam!
Whole Foods Market Yorkville
87 Avenue Rd
Monday-Friday: 8am - 10pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8am - 9pm
Sunday December 23: 8am - 9pm
Monday December 24: 8am - 7pm
Tuesday December 25: CLOSED
Wednesday December 26: 10am - 6pm, Cafe 10am - 4pm
Monday December 31: 8am - 7pm
Tuesday January 1: 10am - 6pm
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Thanks for reading!!
~ The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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