The first Whole Foods Market 365 in Ohio is set to open today in Akron.
The market, located on 1745 West Market Street, is scheduled to open on Thursday at 9 a.m. While this is the sixth type of market to open, it’s the first in Ohio. ‘
The 30,000-square-foot space will mix “affordable grocery items, unique venues and retail innovations,” according to market officials.
It’s a shift from what you might have experienced at your local grocery store.
“I’m only 5’4’’ and I can reach the top shelf of the groceries,” said Audree Lang, a team leader at the new Whole Foods 365 Market in Akron. “We just want the store to feel open and accessible to everyone.”
That also means a slight shift in their image. Whole Foods, nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” after facing criticism for its high priced items, is now focusing on a more affordable venture following Amazon’s deal to buy the grocery chain.
“Whole Foods Market 365 is built on the idea that it’s the same amazing quality standard as a traditional Whole Foods, but with a much more attractive price point,” said Lang.
And the focus on quality remains on the top shelf.
“We’re not going to have any artificial additives, no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners. No hydrogenated oils, so you can feel good about what you’re eating.”
There are some new features to the new market, including its Akron connection.
Tim Bechtel, born and raised in Akron, is one of the owners of Artisan Coffee. His coffee shop is one of the first things customers will see when they walk into the store.
“Being a part of Whole Foods is a very surreal experience because we just opened our store less than two years ago,” said Bechtel. “So to be opening our second, let alone in Whole Foods, is pretty incredible.”
A number of Akron products are expected to be on the shelves, including Norka beverages, and Hoppin’ Frog and Thirsty Dog breweries.
There’s also an in-house kitchen featuring tacos and made-to-order pizza.
“You’re going to see fantastic quality in all of the products and hopefully you’ll find it fun and really easy to shop in,” said Lang.
The market’s site is adjacent to a new retail plaza, formerly home to West Point Market which moved to Fairlawn in 2016.