Before the Grand Opening of Whole Foods Market in Kailua, the store hosted a preview party to catch a peek at Oahu’s second location. This preview party is a limited engagement before the store publicly opens its doors on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Here’s Robin of the Leadership team welcoming our preview tour.
First off, this store is big! It’s noticeably bigger than the Kahala location.
The reason for this? WFM Kahala had to squeeze into the space vacated by Star Market. The Kailua location was a new space, designed with everything Whole Foods wanted. Like what?
There’s a bar, and yes, alcohol is served. There’s going to be Happy Hour specials where you can get a beer and a slice of pizza for a few bucks. Whole pizzas are available for takeout, and every Wednesday (I think) there’s discounted prices. Sorry, I don’t have all the details, but I couldn’t follow everything while taking pictures, recording videos, updating Twitter, and listening to all the Team Leaders.
What elseâ€¦ How about the Kailua location is the only WFM in the nation to serve shave ice. Yup, the local cold treat is on their menu, supplied by flavors from OnoPops. Twelve Hawaii-based coffee vendors supplies Whole Foods with their beans, and something about Portuguese sausage smoked in-house. I’m no poultry expert but for some reason, chicken is flown in to sell since it’s supposedly fresher? I don’t quite understand how that’s fresher than local poultry, but I’m sure it’s explainable. The bakery bakes its own goods daily, partnering with Bale for the dough for some baked goods. I’m liking the red display case for the baked goods. Might be the only place in the store that you’ll see this striking red contrasting color.
If you’re looking for unpasteurized eggs or raw milk, sorry, you won’t find these products here. They aren’t legal in Hawaii.
The fresh produce section tries to stock and sell only organic fruits and vegetables but even with this core value, Whole Foods has to offer more traditionally grown produce. They simply can’t stock non-organic fruits and vegetables that customers are looking for. Doesn’t make for good business you know?
Like I initially mentioned, this location is huge. Step aside Kahala, I see the new hangout for on-island celebrities. The open ceilings add to the vastness and the unfinished look for the ceilings work. Walking in from the Kailua Road entrance leads you right to the bar, the deli, bakery, coffee stand, and juice bar (which I don’t think other WFMs have). The outdoor seating area has these very cool tables. I’m not sure what material they’re constructed from, but that turquoise transparency is something you have to see (and feel). Could it be something from 3Form?
The store interior is adorned with a palette of colors and shapes. If you can, take a moment to look around. Yeah, it’ll be hard once the store is open for business and shoppers are bustling about, but look at the colors, the curves, and the overall decorative touches – such detail. And you can’t miss that huge wooden sign over the meat section.
The one question I forgot to ask? When is Top Chef coming to town to film a season in Hawaii?
I’m sure I missed a lot, but here are some pictures to help tell the story.