Those of us in the Berkeley area are excited to welcome a new and long-awaited neighbor. Whole Foods will open its second Berkeley store on November 4th in the up-and-coming Gilman District. In anticipation of the grand opening, Janaia and I went on an exclusive, behind the scenes tour – and it didn’t disappoint! Today I’m going to share some first-look pictures of what’s in store at the Gilman location.
We were welcomed by Lizzie, who was the sweetest person and made us feel right at home.
The store has an industrial design that reminds me of an urban loft, with high ceilings and gorgeous lighting. They are still putting the finishing touches on the design, so you can see some construction going on in a few of the pictures. One of my favorite features of the store is all of the beautiful signs, like the 510 sign hanging on the back wall. I learned that they have in-house designers who create all of these cool illustrated signs featuring the local farmers and small businesses who create some of their products.
There’s a bright and colorful juice bar, where you can order fresh juices and smoothies. Here’s Janaia checking out all of the options.
The large bulk foods section has some really cool design features, pictured below right. And for chocolate lovers, there’s a nice assortment of organic, fair trade chocolate bars from around the world, which Janaia and I stopped to have a look at. While on the tour, we learned that Whole Foods has committed to having every single product in its store verified through the Non-GMO Project by the year 2018 – and all of the Whole Foods 365 brand products have already been submitted for verification. Our tour guide also explained their rating system for fish and meats – which is clearly spelled out in large, colorful signs that help you decide which product is best for your needs.
One of the coolest parts of the entire space is Allegro Coffee Company, a sustainable coffee and tea producer that even roasts their beans in-house. The cafe has tall windows with beautiful natural light pouring in, and includes a seating area so that you can sit down and enjoy something to drink while you’re here.
Another fun thing to look at was all of the gifts and beauty products, like this Christmas display, colorful baskets, and Allafia GOOD soap.
I can’t include pictures of everything we saw, but I wanted to give you a peek at a few other areas of the store. Here you can see the bakery, a portion of the cafe area, the large wine and craft beer selection, and more of the cool signs that they have hanging throughout the store. And in case you were wondering who’s responsible for the architecture of this gorgeous space, credit goes to Field Paoli, a 30 person San Francisco based firm who has been part of the Whole Foods Market design team for over a decade.
We had such a fun time on our tour, and even received a surprise tote bag full of some of my favorite treats – as well as a ton of new things to try. Thank you Lizzie – and the entire team at Whole Foods Gilman – for including us and making us feel so welcome in your new space! Is it November 4th yet?
Will you be shopping at the new Whole Foods Gilman? If so, you may want to read this article on items that are priced less at Whole Foods, including staples like organic milk, greek yogurt, pasta, and grains.