Nothing makes me more excited at 8am on a Wednesday than loading the baby up, stepping out into the crisp autumn air (okay well 78 is crisp in Florida) and waiting in line to enter the glorious new Whole Foods Store that opened in Clearwater today at Countryside mall! With a fairly nice variety of natural food supermarkets, farmer’s markets and even a widening organic selection available at Publix in the Tampa Bay area, it was high time Whole Foods got their slice of the organic consumer pie. I’ve been patiently awaiting the grand opening since I heard about the new store last year and I was so excited to be there on opening day!
My fellow blogger friend Lane and I arrived at about 8:30 in the morning and the line was already wrapped around the building. There was a promise of free gift cards ranging in value from $5-$500 for the first 500 people in line. Apparently some verrrrry enthusiastic (read:insane!) Whole Foods fans lined up at 9pm last night to get the first spot in line. By the time we got there all the cards had already been given away, but we were super surprised and thankful when they came by with a second round of gift cards for all the rest of us! Lane and I got $5 each which bought us some delicious coffee and pastries at the cafe inside.
Thankfully we only had to wait about 35 minutes to get in and it certainly was a madhouse once we entered the organic mecca. But this was a well (albeit newly) coconut-oiled machine. The staff were friendly and informative, and when Luke knocked over my coffee and spilled it everywhere there was a crew with a cone and mop on the scene within seconds. It was quite impressive. (Don’t mind Luke’s uninterested pose below, there were some very appealing flowers right within his view.) The selections were vast and most surprisingly there were a lot of very reasonably priced products. I was overwhelmed with the health and beauty section and all the awesome deals on products I’ve been looking for! 99 cents for all natural fluoride free toothpaste? I’ll take four! Liter sized bottle of All-natural shampoo for under $7? Thank you ma’am! Guava Kombucha for the road? Yes, Please!
Most impressive of all were the 100+ locally sourced items like fresh seafood and produce, and locally farmed and packaged pasta sauces and honeys. That’s the sort of thing that will really steal my business. Its a good option for when I can’t make it to the farmer’s market on the weekend.
I can’t wait till all this opening madness dies down so I can go back and really take in the store aisle by aisle. Or partake in the beer and wine bar on $8 beer and burger night! This is going to be a very good thing for mama. 🙂