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Flagship Whole Foods Market Union Station Opens Today

The new retail grocer will employ a 210-member team, bringing 135 new jobs to Denver


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Whole Foods Market opens its flagship, 50,000-square-foot Union Station location – 1701 Wewatta Street – in downtown Denver Wednesday, November 15. In the works for nearly four-and-a-half years, this is the 21st location in Colorado, employing a 210-member team and bringing 135 new jobs to the city.

"Union Denver is a quarter of a billion dollar investment in downtown Denver and we are thrilled to have Whole Foods as part of our community," says Denise Gammon of Holland Partner group, senior development manager on the market project. "The addition of Whole Foods Market in downtown Denver is a real milestone and a tremendous amenity and draw to downtown living."

The 39-year-old company was the first national certified organic grocer and remains a leader in natural and organic retail. Whole Foods Market has more than 470 stores throughout the country, Canada and the United Kingdom. 

"The Whole Foods Market is an essential component to the urban community we are developing at Union Denver," Gammon says. "Overall, our design intent was to create an urban community with ground floor retail that truly activates the 17th Street Plaza and Gardens ... The design not only takes advantage of Denver's amazing year-round weather; it also creates great community engagement."

Up and down the grocery aisles, new lower prices are advertised on brightly-colored signs. With Amazon's $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in August, this opening introduces one of five stores nationwide that will feature an Amazon pop-up, where customers can shop for Amazon devices such as the new Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle e-reader, Fire tablets and more. Amazon lockers also line the entrance of the store for customers to ship or return items directly to the store.

Customers will find a full market experience with an extensive grab-and-go section, including a first-of-its-kind mac and cheese bar, salad chopper, and blend-your-own juice bar. The expanded selection includes seasonal, chef-driven cuisine made with the natural and organic ingredients, including Korean, Peruvian and Spanish cuisines. Seafood shoppers will find a fresh poke and ceviche bar, and fishmongers will host a Pike's Place-inspired market on opening weekend.

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The features the city's second birdcall location, a southern-inspired fried chicken eatery created by the founders of Park Burger. This also marks the first Colorado Whole Foods Market to sell beer or wine inside the store, with 20 local brews on tap.

Whole Foods Market Union Station will also feature a new partnership with Denver-based U Baron Group, which owns and runs Izzio Bakery and Etai's Bakery Cafe, opening a satellite location inside the store under the Tel Aviv Street Food banner, as the store's second "Friends of Whole Foods Market" venue. TLV will serve Israeli-style pita sandwiches, with dishes such as cauliflower with labneh and green harissa. 

Local chefs Alex Seidel, Matt Vawter, Keegan Gerhard and Lisa Bailey of Mercantile and D Bar will grow their partnership with Whole Foods by expanding their successful Füdmill pastry line, with new croissants and focaccia offerings. 

Opening day proceeds – 5 percent – will be donated to support healthier school lunches in Denver Public Schools, while an additional 10-cent bag credit throughout the quarter will go to Denver Rescue Mission to support their Winter Needs drive. With the unveiling of the Union Station location, Denver's Capitol Hill store closed this past Sunday, November 12.

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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