Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bedford Whole Foods Undergoing Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

The Whole Foods in Bedford Marketplace is undergoing a Multi-Million Dollar interior renovation. The 41,750 square foot space started out as a Purity Supreme supermarket. In 1995, Purity was bought out by Stop & Shop. The space then reopened as a Natures Heartland in 1996 (it didn't make sense for Stop and Shop to have 2 stores in Bedford). In 1999, Nature's Heartland was acquired by Whole Foods and the Bedford Store was converted to a Bread & Circus Whole Foods Market. In 2003 the name was changed to Whole Foods Market. The current store employs well over 100 people.

I recently spoke with Carol Ortenberg, Marketing Team Leader and Community Liaison for the Bedford Whole Foods. Carol mentioned the primary purpose of the renovation is to expand the offerings for it's customers. They want to try out some new opportunities in dining and food that customers have asked for while also modernizing the look and feel of the store.

The prepared food area is undergoing major changes with expansion of the salad bar to incorporate a larger selection of items including more hot bar options. A Soup and Rotisserie Chicken station is being added along with stations for Dim Sum and Mexican Burritos. The pizza area is being expanded and a made to order sandwich counter is being added.

In conjunction with the prepared food changes, there will be a expanded Cafe Seating area with Free WiFi and a children's play area. Next to the Cafe Seating,

The Produce Department is enlarging and upgrading with a new station for cutting fresh fruit along with a new sit down Coffee and Juice bar that will feature fresh squeezed juices and possibly vegetables juices. The floral department is also expected to move.

Along with these renovations, Whole Foods is also building a new cooking department. This department will hold cooking demos and will also feature a cooking coach that customers can speak to about recipes and how to make specific dishes.

Carol mentioned that although they are working on the renovation, they continue to remain focused on supporting Bedford and the surrounding communities. For example after Valentine's Day, they donated 60 bouquets of flowers that were delivered with Wheels on Meals to seniors in Bedford. Whole Foods also recently worked with Davis school to help them set up a small temporary grocery store called Davis Town, so kids could experience and learn about grocery stores such as how to be a cashier.

While the recent stormy weather has pushed back the renovation schedule a little bit, it is expected to be completed by early May. Whole Food is planning some type of opening event to celebrate.

While it's the interior that is being renovated, there have been a few tweaks outside. An outdoor seating area was recently set up and they plan to continue to tweak and beautify this area over the next few months.

The Bedford Marketplace shopping center as a whole was scheduled to undergo a significant makeover a few years ago with a Pedestrian Greenway, Outdoor Restaurant Seating, over 50K square feet of new retail space along with updated facades for existing retailers such as Whole Foods and Marshall's. However these plans were put on hold when the economy slowed in 2009.

It's good to see the Whole Foods undergoing a renovation. Compared to other location, the Bedford store had begun to fall behind especially in the prepared food sections. It will be interesting to see if the expanded hot food stations will drive additional lunch traffic from local companies. While the Whole Foods has attracted a sizable lunch crowd, my observations indicated it primarily tended to be individuals rather than groups of workers. The wider range of prepared food options may persuade more groups to make Whole Foods a lunch option.

With Wegmans set to open in Burlington in the Spring of 2014, local competition will likely increase. Whole Foods seems focused on having individual stores directly market to local communities. For example, the Bedford Whole Food store promotes it's specials and answers customer questions and concerns on both it's Facebook and Twitter pages. Some supermarkets such as Shaw's, have a single Facebook and Twitter account that serve all it's stores, while others such as Stop & Shop do not appear to even have an active Facebook or Twitter account.


Anonymous said...

I hope the town/state can give them a permit to sell beer and wine. Whole Foods has excellent selections and its disappointing that the are restricted from selling in Bedford.

Anonymous said...

I drove down to the Wegmans in Stoughton and Whole Foods will definitely have some competition on it's hands - selection and price.

Adam Schwartz said...

In Massachusetts, they limit the number of beer and wine licenses for supermarkets. This used to be no more than 3 locations for each chain. I am pretty sure this was increased to 5 in 2012 and is expected to increase again in 2014. Several years back the Whole Foods in Bedford applied to the selectman for a permit to sell wine. There was strong opposition from the liquor stores in town and the permit was denied.