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More visible work on the Whole Foods Store at 2748 Green Bay Road is likely to begin soon, said Keith Stewart, director of marketing. The interior has been nearly gutted, and demolition work on the exterior will begin soon, he said at a joint Sixth and Seventh ward meeting on Jan. 22.
The store will open in mid-July with a theme of “home,” Mr. Stewart said. “We design the store to [fit in with] the area the store is going into.” The designer took into consideration the historic homes and the Metra station, to come up with that idea.
“We want it to feel like home,” said Tony Lesley, construction coordinator at Whole Foods. In the front area there will be a café and a pub offering local microbrews, and, while there will be televisions, they will “generally be silent,” he said.
Referring to the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-style house that had been parked on stilts there for the winter, Mr. Lesley joked, “The house is not part of the store.”
Whole Foods Green Bay Road will offer the same “natural and organic products” that all Whole Foods stores offer. “We believe we have the highest quality standards in the industry,” said Mr. Stewart. New features for Evanston will be pasta cut-to-order, seafood and cheese smoked in-house, beef aged in-house, BBQ carry-out and a pizza station, Mr. Lesley said.
At six-and-a-half feet, the aisles in this store will be wider than those in the store at Church/Chicago.
The store will be state-of-the-art, said Mr. Lesley. Sustainable elements will include LED lighting in the store and in the parking lot, islands of greenery in the parking lot, bicycle parking and “a lot of recycled products.”
The company anticipates 150-200 employees, about 40% of whom will be full-time, Mr. Lesley said. There will be only one truck dock, and the hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. There will not be a pharmacy, he said.
The company plans to keep all three stores open, Mr. Stewart said. He said Whole Foods has been operating in Evanston for many years: The Fresh Fields store, which was located at Emerson Street and Ridge Avenue, was a precursor of Whole Foods, as was the Oak Avenue market, he said. Whole Foods South opened as Wild Oats, which Whole Foods subsequently acquired.
Mr. Stewart said the marketing team decided to call the new store “Whole Foods Green Bay Road,” since both “Whole Foods South,” at Chicago Avenue and Greenleaf Street, and “Whole Foods North, at Chicago Avenue and Church Street, were already taken and “Whole Foods Green Bay Road sounded better than Whole Foods North, North.”
Seventh Ward resident Junad Rizki asked that Mr. Stewart “repeat what you told me earlier about not taking money from the City.”
“We’re taking no tax incentives,” said Mr. Stewart, adding, “We’re not taking any of your money, and we’re spending about $15 million.”