Friday, August 31, 2012

Song of the Week

David Bowie :: Ziggy Stardust

Cafe Ubuntu

Special Reserve Program
Launched in 2006, the Special Reserve program highlights an exceptional, limited-release coffee every quarter.   For over 30 Years Allegro Coffee has worked to sustain the long-term livelihood of small farmers and grower co-ops.  To help support these conscientious co-ops, Allegro and Whole Foods Market provide a $10,000 donation to growers to complete much-needed community based projects in education, health care, agricultural programs and farm development.  By working directly with the farmers the Special Reserve Program supports community programs that make a substantive difference in the lives of real people.

Please visit the Allegro Website from a complete listing of our past Special Reserve Coffees and Donation programs: Allegro Special Reserve

Café Ubuntu
This Quarter’s Special Reserve Café UBUNTU comes from great coffee producing countries within the “Great Lakes” region of Africa. Succulent coffee cherries are picked and the beans are roasted to bring out a deep and syrupy cup. Allegro’s $10,000 donation will be used by CTC International to further their mission to empower communities in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. CTC International is a non-profit organization working diligently to create solutions to needs in five specific areas: education, environment, economy, health and community. Each area directly impacts the community as a whole and each is interrelated to the success of one another.

Whole Foods Partnership with CTC International has already made a huge impact in this Kenyan Community… The program began with 10 jobs for mothers making the coffee life jackets while their disabled children were given their first opportunity to attend school last year.    CTC now has created over 600 jobs in the Mai Mahui community!!! 

Store Execution
Tasting and Education:  By now your allocations should have arrived in store.   If you haven’t tasted this coffee yet, please take some time to sample with your entire team this weekend.  Brew some up for your next Team Leader or Store Team meeting.  Share the story of Café Ubuntu and the connection with LIFE and Comfort the Children.  There are some pretty amazing videos on the CTC website that really tie the whole program together, please coordinate some time for your TMs to review: CTC International .

Merchandizing Expectations:
-          Special Reserve Fixtures should be filled with Café UBUNTU  for the entire promo period.  Fixtures should be in high volume locations where Team members can “talk up”.  Tell this story!
-          Café UBUNTU  should be in every bulk coffee set with appropriate Bin Tag signage  for the entire promo period.
-          Café UBUNTU  should be brewed at EVERY coffee bar and brew station for the entire promo period.
-          Sample Daily!!!  Remember Allegro provides every team a $25.00 sample credit every period and two free cases of sample cups per quarter.  All you have to do is ask!
-          Promo Period is 9/5 to 12/30, please reorder directly through allegro as needed.

Marketing:  CTC and allegro have already begun creating a buzz on facebook and twitter.  Work with your Marketing Teams to get the word out in your store.

Reclaimed Tile

Reclaimed Tile was used to build the coffee department at the Roaring Fork Store.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

USA Pro Challenge

Thanks to Heather Larrabee for this blog content.

We had a whirlwind 8-day tour of Colorado with the USA Pro Challenge and are happy to report the tour was a great success! Our participation in what's been called the "Tour de France of the US" generated goodwill throughout the state and in key towns where stores may eventually be developed, including Durango, Telluride and Beaver Creek/Vail. 

Please scroll down for highlights of our adventure, and for heartfelt appreciations for the many, many incredible people who helped make this journey possible.

Photos courtesy of Amy Wright

The Denver Post

"During 683 miles of racing over seven days and 29 hours of television coverage, the Rocky Mountains provided the backdrop for a grueling athletic event that is a perfect fit — and advertisement — for Colorado…Some in the sport believe the stage that started in Golden and ended in Boulder drew the largest crowd for a single day of pro cycling in U.S. History…"

"NBC is already broadcasting more than 31 hours of coverage of the Pro Challenge…including live coverage during the two final days on its flagship network. Last year's TV ratings were twice that of any other American cycling race, officials say."

"Last year we were selling a vision," Hunter said. "And now we have numbers to back it up: TV ratings, number of countries who broadcast the race (more than 160)."

Channel 9 News - NBC

"The caliber of athlete competing is unprecedented in this race. Athletes include six of the top 13 finishers from this year's Tour de France."

"The inaugural Pro Challenge resulted in an $83.5M economic impact to the State of Colorado. As a virtual postcard for the State, the race will be broadcast for more than 25 hours on NBC and NBC Sports, in addition to airing in 161 countries. Millions of people will watch this year's race online using iPhone, iPad and Android Apps and the brand new Radio Shack Tour Tracker."

The day before the event, we partnered with Ryan Amirault to send a custom email blast to our Colorado subscriber list, reaching approximately 30,000 people. The email featured links to interviews, our trail mix bike, and more!

In the weeks leading up to the event, we placed floor clings designed by Megan Hudson and paid for by the USA Pro Challenge in 18 Colorado locations, delivering 3.7 million impressions to our partners leading up to the race. We also partnered with UPC on a "photo bombing campaign" for fans to win a trail mix bike party for 50. Fans came into our stores to snap photos of themselves with the floor clings and posted them on the UPC channel which currently boasts over 75,000 followers!


We invited NPR-style media company, Something Independent, to go on the road with WFM. We underwrote a portion of content as Something Independent interviewed Colorado entrepreneurs at each stage of the race, including vendors with products sold at WFM:
  • Interviews were conducted and recorded live from a shared 10 x 40 tent space with WFM and drew watchful crowds each day
  • Many of the businesses interviewed sell products in WFM, including Honey Stinger, New Belgium, and new-to-market Boulder heroes, Scratch Labs
  • Colorado Governor Hickenlooper was also featured!
  • The WFM-relevant interviews produced unique content that speak to the quality standards WFM exacts, as well as the support that vendors receive from us—this kind of testimonial from a third party source is priceless!
  • SI experimented with a cutting edge app for their Facebook page to house and showcase these interviews—the look, feel, and branding is impeccable and could lead the way for future WFM experimentation with social media applications
  • Click to watch videos from Scratch Labs and Honey Stinger talking about their experience of and success with Whole Foods Market
  • A unique theme emerged along the route as excitement and connection to WFM in future customers'  backyards built when they visited our tent and interacted with us personally 
  • We'd advise a new strategy to activate at events like this to introduce our products and culture to communities months or even years before we arrive in new markets
  • People couldn't believe the abundance of free snacks, swag, and reusable bags at our tent—throughout the tour we were told we had the healthiest and best tent in the vendor village
We empowered marketers in Basalt, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver to invite 3-9 key vendors to activate in our tent with demos each day. Each vendor served up to 2,000 samples in a few short hours during their visit—this is the equivalent of 20 demos in our stores. By all accounts, this was a HUGE win for our vendor partners and for us.
  • Providing access to small vendor partners who would otherwise not be able to afford presence at premiere events like this is one key way to create win-win partnerships with our suppliers
  • Vendor presence drives additional theatre and unique offerings
  • Vendor feedback was overwhelming and inspiring.
Because we were going to be far from stores and unable to restock snack product, we created an activation that didn't rely on food—our "Postcards from the Road" series. Using green screen technology and PhotoKey5 Pro software, we created a photo booth experience with custom, whimsical postcards from each town thanks to a design from Travis Harkness, FTC. Former WFM marketer, Andrew Lawrence, gave us a crash-course tutorial on how to use the software before we hit the road.
  • Visitors to our tent were invited to take pictures with their families and friends
  • We handed them a Free Honey Stinger coupon with Colorado WFM Facebook addresses on the back for reminders on where to find and tag their photos
  • We saw a spike in user usage after each posting, especially in Aspen and Denver; you can see the posts were among the highest of the week on both channels when albums were loaded!
  • This was a fun and free way to drive social media engagement and connection with our customers
  • Additionally, Ryan Amirault posted a photo on our national Facebook page which received 591 likes in just hours
  • WFM channels were also tagged by Something Independent as videos relevant to our brand were posted
  • We're still counting but we captured approximately 3500 new email addresses from around the state last week!

At the Aspen stage we handed out 250 of the coupons created by David McCormick for the store opening and encouraged customers to come in before the Sunday expiration to receive $5 off of $50. We saw a spike in coupon redemption in the days following our visit to Aspen in the store:
  • Adding to the buzz and sales from a strong opening, this was a spontaneous but great tactic that could be used in future openings/markets to invite customers in at key events AFTER the opening (great idea, Amy!)
  • Many customers told us they hadn't been in yet and were "waiting for crowds to die down"--they told us the coupon would give them a good excuse to visit the store
  • We passed out 250 coupons on Wednesday, 7/22—you can see the spike in redemptions Thursday – Sunday! In total, this coupon has seen a 17.7% redemption to date!

Kathy Dragon, Heather Kennedy, and the Whole Journeys team joined us in Aspen and Boulder for custom activations and secured a $4200 bike trip to Tuscany for a giveaway. They captured hundreds of key leads and email addresses for their business and were of wonderful support to our team! People couldn't wait to sign up to win!


We’ve been doing Parking Lot Tuna events around the region very successfully. We’re tracking residual effects and see that they earn new customers for seafood. -PN Region


Mason Jars

At the Roaring Fork store they are filling mason jars with different cheeses.  What a great idea!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ocean is Open

Ocean Avenue in San Francisco is OPEN for business!
Great opening and beautiful store.
The sun broke through the fog today and shined a little brighter for opening day.
Thanks NorCal for a fun day!

Pop Up Venue

The mobile venue has been selling Torta sandwiches; short rib, chipotle chicken and beyond meat. They are served on rolls baked at a local bakery and have been really popular.

My LuLu Bell - first day of school!

Charlotte is Open!

...And we're open! Thanks to all who came to our bread-breaking this morning to hear remarks from our leaders and to see your support in action: a $10,000 donation to Friendship Gardens raised from the preview tours! And thanks to Mayor Anthony Foxx for stopping by to greet some of our first shoppers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Command Station - Baton Rouge

Flash and Team in Southwest with their Hurricane command station set up in
Baton Rouge for the storm. Ready to take care of our customers and team members!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ocean Ave. - San Francisco

This Wednesday, August 29th, our 6th San Francisco store (Ocean Avenue) opens. We are super-excited and working hard to build our relationship with the community.

As one of the lead-ups, this past Friday, we hosted "Afternoon of Street Art," where students were partnered with our WFM chalk artists to create street art with the theme of "My Healthy Planet." The 
OMI/Excelsior Beacon Center after school program benefitted. WFM donated $25 per participant to their after school healthy eating program.

Our own chalk artist, Marlon Yanes, entered into the event. He was interviewed by the Palo Alto Weekly, where he will be one of the featured artists.  He also was invited to the huge event in San Diego in October where over 100,000 visitors will come through and check out the artists. 

Shots from 57th Street - NYC

Store Opening Video-Roaring Fork

This is one of the best Store Opening Videos I have ever watched.  Check it out!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Recipe: Sukuma Wiki (African Braised Kale with Tomatoes)


Yesterday Cambria shared a family recipe for African peanut stew, a celebratory dish made with beef, spices, and rich peanut butter. The classic side dish for this meal — and indeed, nearly any meal throughout much of eastern Africa — issukuma wiki, braised greens with a very apt meaning to their name! Do you know what sukuma wiki means? Click here to continue.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Puppies at Bishops Corner

How much is that doggie in the window?

Back to School

With Tom Neal in Glastonbury today!

West Hartford Goes Greek

Smokey and the Bandit


High cinema it's not, but if you're looking for a perfect Friday night beer- drinking flick, it's hard to top Smokey and the Bandit ($13). This semina... Read more

Hitting the road in the South Region

Charlotte! We have a WHOLE bunch of frozen fruit bars to give away!

Song of the Week

Beastie Boys :: An Open Letter to New York City*
*sorry about the video quality here folks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beers of the Times

BEERS OF THE TIMES: I’ll Pass on the Coffee; Give Me a Different Brew

Americans might be surprised at a pre-noon glass of beer, but German hefeweizen is light, crisp and undeniably refreshing. The panel tasted 20 American beers made in the hezeweizen style. Click here to continue.

Midtown East-57th Street is Open!

Sending a HUGE welcome to our 25th and newest Northeast location (lucky #7 in Manhattan)… Midtown East – 57th Street!

The streets were packed this morning as a couple hundred customers joined us to be the first to see our new store, as well as celebrate our bread breaking… We we’re honored to be joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who helped us make our announcement with the Whole Kids Foundation that the NE region is donating 57 salad bars to NYC schools to celebrate the opening of our store!!! A donation valued at more than $300,000!!!

We had a about 12 news teams represented including ABC 7, NY 1, Fox 5, Pix 11, NBC4 Associated Press, Daily News and more!!!

Kudos and congrats to the team! Attached are a wide array of photographs  of the ceremony and our new store!
Michael Sinatra,
Public Relations & Public Affairs Manager, Northeast Region

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Beyond Meat" General Tso Chik'n

Pacific Northwest is rockin' out the recipes with the Beyond Meat.
Check out their General Tso Chik'n...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

East 57th St-New York City

Join us for the bread breaking at 8:30am!  Store opens at 9am.

Why Waiting in Line Is Torture

SOME years ago, executives at a Houston airport faced a troubling customer-relations issue. Passengers were lodging an inordinate number of complaints about the long waits at baggage claim. In response, the executives increased the number of baggage handlers working that shift. The plan worked: the average wait fell to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complaints persisted. Click here to to continue at

Monday, August 20, 2012

NorCal's Wrist Wand

Check out NorCal’s latest and greatest training video on how to use the wrist wand.

More info on the wrist wand can be found here-

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whole Foods Market Charlotte (Opens 8/29)

Check this out! It's a living wall! This is what you'll see as you come up the escalator from our parking garage.

Harrison Store Local Produce

Song of the Week

1977 :: Ana Tijoux

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes - The Work of Our In Store Graphic Artists.

Graphic Artist Steve Feldman is creating new chalk art for our windows at Chelsea.