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Last week I was honored to be among the first group of people (aside from employees) to get a look inside the newest Whole Foods Market about to open in the Pacific Northwest. The Lynnwood store – the first one in Snohomish County.

I worked for the City of Lynnwood for six years until just last fall. During that time I was heavily involved in a Snohomish County program, Get Movin’, designed to battle childhood obesity. Since I worked in Parks and Recreation, our focus was on the physical aspect of getting kids active. But secretly, my passion was always on the nutrition side of the issue – so I am over-the-moon that South Snohomish County finally has access to some of the best local, natural and organic choices!

You are going to love this store! It is just beautiful! While it’s been customised to just what the Lynnwood community needs are, I live in Seattle and I will be shopping there regularly myself! Here are my top 10 reasons why I can’t wait to go back there and shop. 1. I am not a vegetarian: (But I do love veggies!) With Whole Foods Market seafood sustainability rating program and their Animal Welfare Standards, I can know more about the meat and seafood that I buy for my family and make an informed choice.

As a food lover, I am also enamored with the meat department’s special ordering option and popular dry-aged beef  – oh, and of course the house-made sausage! (I just adore sausage!) This is just like having a corner butcher in your supermarket!

As much as I enjoy my animal products, there are very few fruits and vegetables that I don’t like – and the selection of local produce at this store will blow your mind! Like these lovely Sumo oranges from San Diego.

Whole Foods Market strives to put the most local produce on the shelves as possible. This means that the customer gets the freshest, healthiest and most planet conscience produce available, year-round.

Of course, if you do have special dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan, wheat or dairy free, or are gluten intolerant – there are many, many options available to you as well.

2. I like to save money: Whole Foods Market prides itself on great value for the customer’s dollar and with amazing weekly specials, and the 365 Value Products at everyday low prices, it means money saved for me!

Another “huge” way to save money is to buy in bulk.

When you buy in bulk, you are buying only what you need and there is virtually no packaging – a better value for the customer and better for planet. The diversity of bulk products in this store is jaw-dropping. They will even have shredded cheese in bulk!

3. I want everyone to be able to cook: I feel that with a few tools and a little patience, everyone can learn to cook – even if it’s just a very simple meal. There is no need to get fancy with everyday cooking if it’s not your thing. With the resources provided in this store, anyone can cook from scratch!The Cooking Lynnwood station is a teaching kitchen right in the middle of the store where they will hold cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings with local authors and help educate the shopper on what to do with all these healthy ingredients. It’s all about inspiring you and bringing cooking back to basics.

4. It’s all about the customer experience: With a focus on value, educating the customer and incredible customer service, their comittment to the customer is very apparent. Whole Foods stands behind every product that they offer to the customer and has a very liberal return policy! If you don’t like a product, for any reason, bring it back. Meat, cheese, body products. We heard this over and over on our tour. They want you to be happy with what you buy!

5. It feeds my desire for cooking and feeding my family “real” food: Growing up in the 70’s, where many families had two parents who worked, and being a member of the “latch-key” kid society, we relied very heavily on the “convenience” foods that came into vogue during this time. As I grew my own family, I made a commitment to cooking with as much “real” food, as I called it, as time and money would allow.

Whole Foods calls these “natural” (no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives) foods and there is nothing in the store that is not “real”! Fabulous!

6. I have a teenage son who prefers to eat prepared foods: I used to think that it was teenage rebelliousness that made my 14 year old reject my scratch cooking, but I’ve recently realized that he’s actually just a growing boy who wants/needs sustenance – fast, and lots of it! Ahhhh, teenage boys!

I do believe that his preference for large amounts of frozen food can finally be met and still make me happy with Whole Foods large selection of family size options! Just look at this family-sized frozen pasta – a teenage boy’s dream meal! And I love local company Cucina Fresca! Mom approved!

7. My body is craving it: For a long time I have been very curious about trying natural body products. But, like many, I am reluctant to give up my favorite tried and true brands. I have also been wary of the high prices that I imagined natural products to be.

Well, the Whole Body Department at this new Whole Foods Market has given this some thought and they have come up with a new program that will eventually roll out in all their stores.

This new swap program will allow you to bring any used national body product into the store and they will give you a a private label counterpart to try for free. A risk-free way to try going natural with my shampoo? I love it!

8. I like to grocery shop for fun: One of my favorite things to do to relax is grocery shop for pleasure. I love the roam the aisles and find fun new (or new-to-me) products to take home and experiment with. I know not everybody enjoys grocery shopping – many see it as a chore – but this new Whole Foods may just change your mind!

Especially when you get to the bakery area!

All the delicious treats here either come from wonderful local companies – like Mighty-O Donuts! – or made in house with the same fresh, natural ingredients that are the standard in the rest of the store.

There is even a self-serve soft serve station! And plenty of other delights!

Shopping should be fun after all, right?

9. I believe in giving back to my community: And Whole Foods Market does too. There are a variety of ways that they focus on the community they serve.

I am quite impressed with their local producer loan program which provides grants to local small producers and supports the community by bringing more local products into the market. Local companies that have benefited from this program include some of my favorites – such as the wonderful Mt. Townsend Creamery that I’ve mentioned before on this blog!

And these Mirracole Morsels cookies. Oh my, the peanut butter flavor is just divine!

One other huge way that Whole Foods gives back to its community is the 5% Day that I’ve spoken about before.  Several times a year, the stores hold community giving days – “5% Days” – where five percent of that day’s net sales are donated to a local nonprofit or educational organization. Wednesday, March 28 will be the first 5% Day at Whole Foods Market Lynnwood. On that day, the entire Pacific Northwest Region donates 5% of the day’s net sales to non-profit organization, Comfort the Children

10. Potpies on Thursdays! With a full kitchen and twenty cooks on staff, the deli here is outstanding! Everything is produced in house – deli sandwiches, fresh soups, a taqueria and a salad bar – one side is all organic!  Check out their daily specials on prepared foods. Thursdays are PotPie day! Oh can’t wait for that! 🙂

Check out these opening events that start tomorrow:

  • Thursday, March 15th
    Grand Opening

    8 a.m. Free

    Festivities and a bread breaking ceremony start at 8 a.m. Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough and members of the Snohomish County Economic Alliance will join Whole Foods Market store leadership to cut the traditional eight-foot long sourdough bread and welcome shoppers into the store at 9 a.m.

    The first 100 visitors to the store will receive a free baguette to symbolize the bread breaking. Grand opening festivities will also include music from the Lynnwood High School band, free coffee and breakfast, family-friendly activities and vendors on hand to provide samples and information about their products.

  • Saturday, March 17th
    Whole Family Celebration

    10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free

    This event will feature live music by local trio The Wiretappers, vendor demonstrations, hands-on kids’ activities and participation from local community organizations including PAWS, the Imagine Children’s Museum and the University of Washington’s Dubs’ Club. And my friends from Lynnwood Parks & Recreation will be there too! Say hi to them for me! 😉

    For more information and to check other upcoming events, be sure to check the Store Calendar website here.