The Austin-based grocery company, Whole Foods Market, is about to take another bite out of Houston’s grocery store pie with its new concept, “365 by Whole Foods Market.” The new store will be located on the northeast corner of Yale St. and Loop 610, as Whole Foods recently signed a lease in the new “Yale Marketplace” under development there. It will be Texas’ first “365” location.
The 4-acre parcel of land is currently under lease by Neff Rental, an equipment rental company, and the lease stands until 2018. When it expires, Houston-based Fidelis Realty Partners will start construction on its “Yale Marketplace,” a 10,000-square-foot development that will host 365 and other retail units.
Whole Foods Market announced its 365 concept in May 2015, and wasted no time searching Houston for a good location. The 365 concept is designed to meet the public’s growing demand for natural foods through the use of a “curated” selection of products in a store that occupies a much smaller footprint then Whole Foods. Notably, it also touts 365’s “value pricing.”
The public often jokes that the brand’s actual name should be “Whole Paycheck.” The foodie blog, “Eater,” even called the new 365 concept, “Whole Foods for broke people.” Industry journals speculate that the concept is targeting millennial and young urbanites.
The name was chosen exactly to indicate the store’s value pricing while reflecting Whole Food’s 365 Everyday Value house brand.
“365 in the name celebrates our belief that fresh, healthy foods can be readily available to more people in an affordable way, 365 days a year,” said Jeff Turnas, a 20-year Whole Foods veteran and President of the new concept.
“365 is designed to complement the Whole Foods Market brand by bringing the highest quality, healthy foods to a broader audience,” said Jeanette Webster, Houston Media & Community Relations Manager for Whole Foods. “365 will allow us to serve more customers with a fresh, value-driven shopping experience. The new stores will feature a mix of products that meet our quality standards, in an environment that’s fun and convenient for shoppers.”
Who will be 365’s neighbors in the new development?
“We are really excited about Yale Marketplace,” said Lynn Davis, Chief Marketing Officer for Fidelis Realty Partners, “But we only just started speaking with possible tenants. There has been a great deal of interest already. We are not sure at this time what other retail businesses will occupy Yale Marketplace, but it will be companies that go well with Whole Foods.”
As the eighth largest food retailer in the US, a typical Whole Foods store occupies about 40,000 square feet. The 365 concept will be considerably smaller, but the company will not commit at this time to the footprint of the Houston location.
Whole Foods currently operates 420 stores, and announced a target of 1,200 locations earlier this year. Of these, they did not indicate how many would be the new concept. However, they have stated that they are confident that 365 has the legs to keep pace with its older brother.