There’s a lot of buzz about the new Whole Foods Market in Fremont, which opens this Wednesday. While some readers have knocked the high-end grocery chain for its prices, others welcome its healthy and unique options.
Located at 3111 Mowry Ave. in Fremont, the 39,000-square-foot store will be the first Whole Foods Market in the Tri-City area. To be fair, Fremont is also home to a Trader Joe’s and a Sprouts, both healthy alternatives to run-of-the-mill grocery chains. But after taking an inside look during a tour last week, we learned some facts that upped the cool factor of the store.
Here are a few reasons why the hype might be worth believing.
According to Whole Foods managers, each Whole Foods Market is designed to reflect the community — and it smacks you in the face when you walk in. There’s a map of Fremont with all of our different neighborhoods on the wall of the main entrance. Some of the vendors are also local, scouted by Whole Foods’ “forager” (yes, that’s a real title) Harv Singh. Among them are Niles Pie. Co in Union City, Ramavtar Singh Farm in Fremont, Foolish Hen Farms in Sunol, Hillcrest Olive Oil in Sunol and Perry Organic Farms in Ardenwood, which Singh refers to as “a gem in the urban landscape.” Perry Farms, which doesn’t sell to other big box stores, will deliver fresh vegetables such as cauliflower and lettuce directly to the store, Singh said.
Some of the store’s amenities are also named after Fremont landmarks, such as the Mission Peak Tap Alley, along with hot food items such as the Niles Canyon, Alameda Creek and The Mowry sandwiches.
The store also caters to the Tri-City’s diverse populations, offering halal lamb, a variety of Asian spices and gourmet Afghan and Indian food items, both packaged and served hot. Speaking of which…
Fresh Off the Grill
Many Whole Foods stores have hot food stations, but the Fremont location is the only one with a dosa station. Dosas, which you can also easily find at most Indian restaurants, are South Indian flatbreads usually folded over and stuffed with potatoes or vegetables and accompanied with curry, lentils or chutney.
The store also has wok/stir-fry, burrito, sandwich and pizza stations, along with a bakery and smokehouse grill. Wok dishes are $7, burritos are $7, sandwiches start at $6 and pizzas start at $13 for a whole pizza or $5 for two slices.
Also unique to the Fremont location is a grilled cheese station, conveniently located to its cheese section, which features more than 250 cheeses from all over the world.
The store will have a coffee and juice bar, serving up espressos, smoothies and other drink items. There’s also the aforementioned Mission Peak Tap Alley — a tap room that seats 40 people and features seven beers on tap, wine and food. Among the featured bears are Bison Organic Beer and Drake's Brewing.
"We wanted to create a place for Fremont residents to hang out and have a good time," said Lisa Marie Wilson, a marketing rep for Whole Foods.
The store also boasts a selection of more than 500 wines and 300 beers, including local breweries such as Buffalo Bill's in Hayward.
Whole Foods Market Fremont will have a healthy eating specialist to help customers with special diets and provide cooking tips and demos. Maybe she'll explain what "quinoa" is.
The store will give back to local nonprofits four times a year by donating five percent of a day’s net sales to a community organization. It starts off the week after the grand opening by giving one-percent of proceeds to a different nonprofit for five days, starting with Fremont Leaf on Sept. 30, Abode Services on Oct. 1, Fremont Education Foundation on Oct. 2, Tri-City Volunteers on Oct. 3 and the Indian Community Center in Milpitas on Oct. 4.
The Parking Issue
Many readers were concerned about the parking spaces at Whole Foods. According to Wilson, there are 250 parking spaces, including some electric car charging stations, along with bike racks. "There will be ample parking for our customers," she said.
Fremont Whole Foods opens Wednesday, Sept. 25 with a bread-breaking ceremony by Mayor Bill Harrison at 9:45 a.m. The store will open at 10 a.m. The first 250 shoppers will receive a gift bag stuffed with the store’s signature items.
The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.