Boulder market unveils its its big new look, expanded inventory and enhanced resources for home cooks
I live 22 blocks west of Whole Foods Markets’ first and biggest Boulder location (there currently are also three smaller ones in town). My son worked at the Pearl Street store one summer, and I am sure that he learned more about customer service there than in any college business course he ever took. Pearl Street was my Whole Foods, the one I shopped at most often — until the lengthy renovation began. For months I could never find anything as the store’s landscaped changed constantly. Departments were uprooted and relocated, so rather than constantly hunting, I shifted by grocery gathering to other Whole Foods, to the renascent Alfalfa’s and to King Soopers’ growing natural/organic areas.
Now the renovation is complete. The store is about twice its previous size, the aisles are wider, there are mini-shops within the store. Of course, there are departments for meat, seafood, produce, prepared and packaged foods, and health and beauty products. But there are also what are specialized bulk food “boutiques” for grains, flours, sugars (coconut sugar! who knew?), coffees, spices, oils and vinegars and more. Special attention is paid to gluten-free foods.
The store is also tightening its bonds to the community in general and the foodie/cooking community in particular. Customers can find touch-screen computer stations and link to Food 52, a website aimed at talented and engaged home cooks, to find out more about specific ingredients, get recipes and other resources. In addition to a direct line to this online cooks’ community, Whole Foods has hired Beth Pilar as the in-store culinary consultant. Her office is a podium where she is ready to answer questions and guide customers through the larger and more comprehensive ingredient selection now on display. Eventually, she will present cooking demonstrations too.
Farm Dinners on the Patio
To show off the new store and also do a dry run of a special dinner event on the recently constructed patio, Whole Foods invited local bloggers to a farm dinner made by sous-chef Andrea Nordby and her team using ingredients not from one particular farm but from as many local and elsewhere-in-Colorado purveyors as possible. Upcoming farm dinners cost $75 per person, including local adult beverages. You can buy tickets from customer service beginning on Monday, August 15, and 100 percent of the proceeds will support Whole Foods’ Boulder Valley School Food Project. These fundraising dinners, each with a different leading local chef and different menu, are scheduled for three Thursdays in September from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.: 9/1, with Hosea Rosenberg, who achieved celeb status as “Top Chef” Season 5 winner; 9/8, Bradford Heap owner/chef of Colterra and SALT Bistro, and 9/15, BVSD chef Ann Cooper and Brandy Dreibelbis with Whole Foods’ Pearl Street executive chef Brad Defurio.
Here’s what was served at the 8/10 food bloggers’ feast:
Grand Re-Opening Events
Starting Friday August 12, peaking on Saturday the 13th and concluding on Sunday the 14th is a weekend full of activities, demos, samples and entertainment. The store is on Pearl Street between 28th and 30th Streets.