|500 1st Street #1, in the Davis Commons|
|2012-10-24 in Davis|
|A publicly-traded corporation|
They have a monthly events calendar, coincidentally similar to what Borders had.
Whole Foods actively purports to practice corporate responsibility. It prioritizes local and organic products, actively supports GMO labeling and does not use GMO's in its private label products, has a national goal to reach zero waste (supported by reusable deli ware and post-consumer composting in its store), and has a "Whole Planet Foundation" that supports social, economic and environmental efforts around the world (including a new micro-finance fund focused on supplier communities). Additionally, Whole Foods employees, like those at several other Davis supermarkets, are paid above minimum wage, the top earner is restricted to 19X the lowest paid salary (compare this to the "average" CEO at 400X the lowest salary) and the company has been placed in the top 100 to work for by Fortune magazine (only 15 places below Nugget Market on the 2011 list!) for over two decades—often listed in the top 10.
Their co-founder and current CEO, John Mackey, is said to be to anti-union and anti-state health insurance. In 2009, he wrote a controversial editorial against the public health insurance option. He eventually resigned as chairman of the board, largely due to public pressures surrounding the editorial. Mackey maintains the position of co-CEO with Walter Robb, a longtime veteran of the company. In a recent interview (1/16/2013) he compared the new health care laws to fascism. He also refuses to accept the scientific consensus on climate change.
They carry Davis's own BRÜBAR Energy Bars and many other local and regional products.
Also see the Grocery Store Price Comparison Page.
Construction and Opening Timeline
Construction Management & Builders, Inc. was the general contractor for the project.
Anticipated construction start: April 16, 2012. Target completion: September 28, 2012. Grand opening October 24, 2012.
According to a Davis Enterprise article and store visits:
* Store features a good sized produce department, compact but comprehensive bulk, comprehensive grocery (shelf stable, refrig, frozen), specialty cheese, butcher with custom cuts, seafood (all with good ratings from Marine Stewardship Council), extensive wine and beer, body care/wellness, and more...and the best chocolate selection in Davis (lots of organic and ethically traded, at the best prices in Davis).
* The store features a large prepared foods area and lots of "grab-and-go" items. The deli has groovy sign fixtures made from old bike parts. The salad/hot bar selections are extensive and they have reusable eat ware for those who want to dine alfresco at the Davis Commons. From 7-9 AM, they have an early bird discount for the hot bar.
* They're excited to take advantage of the large grassy area out in front with the seating that's already there, and the side patio with Arboretum plants. They want to increase the amount of bike parking, and potentially do bicycle delivery, which they already do in some of their other locations.
* This is a smaller store for Whole Foods. They are expecting to have their share of the market, but they "don't need it to be dominant in the market." They "think there’s enough pie to go around," and hope to "turn some of the shoppers who aren't currently natural food shoppers into natural food shoppers," which "would help other natural grocers."
* Prices are competitive with other local natural foods stores (as of Nov. 2012). They have many unadvertised sale prices and a monthly coupon guide; you can sign up for online delivery to save trees.
* They donate five cents to a community organization, such as the UC Davis Arboretum, for each reusable bag customer use - so brings bags to support good causes.
The Question of GMOs
Whole Foods announced that it will require labeling of products with GMO's by 2018. They have not stated how they will verify supplier claims, however. Also, Whole Foods has signed on to the Friends of the Earth Pledge for GE-Free Seafood, which asks grocers to commit to the following: "It is our policy to not knowingly purchase or sell genetically engineered (GE) salmon or other GE seafood, should it come to market."
Although the Whole Foods model is to sell food that is natural and/or organic, and they do not use GMOs in their private label products, they effectively condoned the USDA's “conditional deregulation” of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Whole Foods has defended their decision as the only alternative to complete deregulation. This never meant Whole Foods endorsed GE foods or was planning to stock the alfalfa.
Whole Foods, along with every other food store in town such as Safeway, Nugget, SaveMart, Trader Joe's, and the Davis Food Co-op, does carry select GM foods, since all carry conventionally-grown soy, corn and canola products. Some processed foods are certified to be "Non-GMO", but these are the exception as, 60-95% of the crops grown in the US are GM. The only way to avoid that is to stop consuming these products entirely and buy organic foods. While consumers can make that choice, few retail grocery stores have adopted that policy due to the high volume of goods containing soy/corn/canola.
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2011-10-29 11:13:53 Seems like it would be a small space for a Whole Foods... they're usually pretty large. And parking would be a nightmare. —CovertProfessor
A friend suggested it might be like their smaller Petaluma store. The person who signed the lease may not have tried driving to and parking in the Davis Commons lot. Of course, not everyone drives to a food market. —DougWalter
2011-10-29 16:14:33 yes please! —OliviaY
2011-10-31 11:53:12 Seriously??!? This is such a bad idea. Parking is so bad there, and aren't there already a bunch of grocery stores downtown? They should've put in an Urban Outfitters. —kristineg
2011-10-31 13:05:02 Regardless of the parking, I think this would be great! They sell a lot of (good) gluten free items I just can't get anywhere else, and I hate treking to Sac for it. I have to say, I stopped parking in that lot a long time ago, but still frequent the businesses there. I've committed to just parking at the northwest corner of downtown and making the 5 minute walk. Plus, I never buy enough at WF to not be able to carry my groceries that far. —AmLin
2011-11-01 00:52:00 I'm just glad it's not a clothing store. If this puts the Co-op out of business, I for one won't cry. I could never afford to pay $6 for a jar of peanut butter anyway. If Whole Foods is even moderately affordable I'll be happy. —ScottMeehleib
2011-11-01 08:08:22 Hah! I had never set foot in a Whole Foods until just a couple months ago. I was shocked at the prices. The Co-Op is a tad less expensive, but not by much. I'm really surprised there hasn't been any oposition from the Co-Op on this, or is there? I agree, parking would be a nightmare too. I'm sure Pluto's won't like this too because Whole Foods has similar items at their take-away/buffet section. —jsbmeb
I'm not clear if prices are lower or higher. —BruceHansen
Well, the store does have the nickname "Whole Paycheck." However, some people claim that if you buy the Whole Foods brand (with the name '365'), the prices are actually pretty good. I haven't shopped at Whole Foods often enough to know if that is true or not. —CovertProfessor
Perhaps because the Whole Foods brand sources many of its "organic" products from China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MBiI9KcJ9UY —clester
2011-11-02 06:30:25 Yes parking is a problem. It seems to me that with the upcoming narrowing of Fifth Street for cars it will become more of a parking lot, but not for long enough to allow people to shop at the Food Coop or the further away WFM. —BruceHansen
2011-11-02 09:43:31 The fact of being a cooperative is a far better advantage to the Davis Food Coop for me than whether their food is organic or not, or gmo or not. In my opinion, (anti)"gmo" and organic are hype and Whole Foods is built on that hype. The true advantage of food sold at farmers markets is better quality control because of a smaller supply chain and fewer workers in smaller farms. These advantages just aren't available at a corporate octopus chain like Whole Foods like they are at the Co-Op and the Farmers Market. Chains like Safeway and Savemart have economies of scale which is why I shop at those stores (in addition to not living by the Co-Op anymore :( ), but Whole Foods doesn't provide this either. Don't believe the hype! —NickSchmalenberger
2011-11-02 23:18:22 Whole Foods definitely runs on the expensive side. To support that, they only place their stores in neighborhoods with an average income of at least $50,000 a year. (Or at least that used to be the case. I don't know if this is still true, and given that undergrads (half the population of Davis) have an income much lower than that, it might not be true at all any more.) The Borders space really does seem too small for a store like that. Maybe if they took over one or two of the neighboring spaces too? —IDoNotExist
2011-11-02 23:19:39 Actually their policy isn't based on income, but the percentage of the population in a city that are college graduates. —OliviaY
2011-11-03 11:54:34 If you really think you need this, then you don't realize what you already have for choices. Seriously, there's nothing you can't already get at the Co-Op, Nugget, and Trader's and for cheaper than what you can get at the properly termed "Whole Paycheck". Between Trader's and the Co-Op, there are more good GF options than you can find at Whole Foods, believe me I've compared. Plus the Co-Op test kitchen has classes on making the hard things like GF breads and cakes. All you're going to get with this are out-of-towners that want to go to a "BIG LABEL" store, filling up what is already a congested intersection. I came from an area where Whole Foods and Safeway were our only options, I had to drive an hour just to get to SF Rainbow Co-Op where things were cheaper than whole paycheck... I've been soo happy to be back near Davis where there are more options. I'm sad this seemed like the best option for Davis Commons... You've got some good storefronts/restaurants there already, I don't think this will complement. —elizabethweitzel
I agree the location seems horrible, but there are a LOT of things I can't find anywhere but whole foods. Specifically specialty baked good items and whole chunk chocolate for baking. I've looked in every store in town for certain items and the only places I've ever gotten them were WF.—oy
* My opinion is that you won't find them at this smaller store, once it opens. They will not have an onsite Bakery, and are unlikely to haul specialty baked goods from a central one for the two GF cakes per month they will sell. —rocksanddirt
2011-11-03 21:54:12 I don't understand how Davis is going to support another grocery store ... and especially one that's downtown where shopping and eating in restaurants takes place. I wouldn't ever go to Davis Commons just for Whole Foods - parking is awful and it's too far of a bike ride from anyplace I would live. The only way I can see using this place is if I don't feel up to Pluto's or some other Davis eatery, but it doesn't sound like the prices would justify Whole Foods over a decent Davis meal. We have great, 'high-end' grocery stores already. IN ANY CASE - they can try, and if it fails, well no loss here. —ChristyMarsden
There's a good chance that this additional competition will lead to the closing of one or two grocery stores in Davis. It's unlikely that WF will be the first: they are a very successful chain and have lots of money. They have closed 16 stores in the past three years, but have started 51 according to their SEC 10-K report for 2010.
2011-11-22 15:04:09 to the person about the whole chunk chocolate, I saw some at nuggets on covell, the one near the carls jr and CVS. :) —SherrineLau
They carry during the holiday season but not any other time of the year. Thanks though. —oy
I saw chunks of white chocolate at the food co-op when I was there yesterday. I wasn't looking for it, but from that I would assume that they also carry chunk milk and/or dark chocolate. —knaggers
2012-10-25 11:46:06 This morning my wife and I decided to survey the new Whole Foods. It's easy to determine the targeted demographic of a business by the canned music they play. Today I heard Jackson Brown, Savoy Brown, The Beatles, etc. It sounded good to me, and as someone who attended High School and College in the 1970's I must be in that demographic sweet-spot. There were very few University students in the store and I wasn't sure if the 40-year old music or the high prices were driving them away.
I may be wrong, but I project a long, hard road before the Davis location realizes a profit. There are just too many affordable and competitive options in town including Trader Joe's, Grocery Outlet and the Co-Op. —RickJeff
2012-10-28 16:13:11 Beware: the smallest container available for soup from the hot food line turned out to be $7. The per-pound prices for everything else (salad bar, hot food) is on par with Nugget and Co-op. —MeggoWaffle
2012-11-11 23:49:49 I've been checking in the past few months with Co-op managers and employees about their whole take on WF's obviously weird choice of location and what is the Co-op doing to stay alive? Apparently the Co-op's survive and thrive plan took effect back when TJ's was coming into town, so they already had quite a bit of momentum facing this new competitor. One Co-op manager said that it's probable WF plans to take a loss on this location, but it will be worth it to them to get UCD students with $ hooked as brand shoppers when they graduate and move on. Makes sense to me. Frankly, I think the competition has done the Co-op good in many ways, namely customer service being 10000X better and less pricing everything like it's gold-plated, like asparagus for $13/lb, and more community involvement with food fairs and booths and whatnot. I personally will keep supporting the Co-op and would go out of my way to pick them over WF even if WF didn't exist in the most overcrowded parking lot by the longest light in Davis. Apparently there's been delivery snags, too, since residents of the 1st street houses were complaining about the noise. Co-op gets their pallets delivered around 4:30-5 am, but for noise restrictions WF has to wait until 6 and kinda dump everything in the parking lot since there's no delivery bays. Nice. —LilyS
2012-11-18 17:16:56 FYI for everybody who complains about parking there. I was at Whole Foods this afternoon and there were dozens of spots open. Then I stopped by Trader Joe's and had to park over by The Grad.
Things they have that the Co-op no longer carries: Alexia Garlic Baguettes. SO GOOD. More expensive than the Co-op used to charge.
Things they don't carry that they should: Tofurky roasts. Can be found at the co-op, overpriced even when on sale. —MeggoWaffle
2013-01-10 19:55:58 Has everyone forgotten that Davis is the bicycle city? Urban outfitters has many locations in highly *urban* areas where parking is plentiful...hence the name. —YesItsMe
2013-07-18 16:59:45 I am very happy with Whole Foods Market. Granted: you have to park somewhere and sometimes you have to drive an additional street (or two), but I find this a terrific store. Maybe they will solve this issue too with a parking.
Most products I buy, are cheaper here at WFM than they are at Davis Co-Op (sorry to say that), and I notice that Co-Op is losing me (gradually). Some products are even a dollar cheaper.
They have excellent cheap cooling (fabric)bags too (in different sizes), and I already bought three of them because they come in super handy (because they are square) and they even look cool in different colors. Co-Op doesn't offer that kind of extra stuff and Whole Foods has loads of it at the checkouts. This is somehow quite important to me, because I buy frozen and cooled stuff all the time, and I was very grateful that WFM is thinking along.
When I am right about it, I think Whole Foods has more in terms of assortment (we are vegan, and maybe this is only so for vegans, I don't know).
Why am I making this obvious comparison with Co-Op? Well, I used to buy all our health and vegan food at Co-Op, now I buy the bulk of it at Whole Foods, simply because they are cheaper and to me it seems they have more. I think Co-Op should be very aware of this, I think I am not the only one who's switching over to Whole Foods. Probably I am very naive, but maybe they can work together in future? But I sure hope with Whole Food prices, not with Co-Op prices.
Co-Op is anyway too expensive, I regularly see things there that are one or even two dollars more than elsewhere (for example, ready-made soup suppers). This is not encouraging me to shop at Davis Co-Op, but at Whole Foods.
I know: competition is a tough thing, but Whole Foods is a very strong newcomer.
Anecdote: not long ago, Co-Op called me with a survey and I participated, finding it very coincidental (because I was thinking about them, losing me). Of course, I still do a little shopping at Co-Op, but like I said... Well, this guy was asking questions and I was answering them, and to my surprise NONE of the questions was about the pricing. IMO that should be the first question (figuratively speaking), because it all comes down to that for quite some people (I think, anyway, but maybe some people don't care about throwing out their money lol). At the end of the survey, he asked: "Do you have any comments you would like to add?" (something like that), and THEN I made my own remark about the pricing. He didn't seem to take my own remarks very seriously, because he was a little hasty about it.
Maybe I should add this comment to "Co-Op" as well...
One remark for Whole Foods Market (ánd for Co-Op as well): where oh where are the Soya Desserts? The ones (small and big sizes) I used to buy, haven't been there for months now. Both Whole Food Market and Co-Op only offer "Nancy's" Soy desserts that, and I am sorry to say, taste HORRIBLE, and so is the color: dirty light brown with speckles. Yes, I like natural, but please!, the eye wants something too. And yes, I tried several of "Nancy's" vegan dessert. I find them so bad, I had to throw them away (my husband was willing to eat one of mine lol, but he is a less highly demanding eater). —ConstantiaOomen
Just FYI: When someone calls you and says they're doing a survey of _ for _, don't assume it's true. Often they're someone hired by a competitor to get information. —SteveDavison
That's an interesting way to look at it. I hadn't thought of it. What should they do, let you call back (Co-Op) to confirm it's really them?
In this case, I believe it was Co-Op; the lack of questions about the prices I found consistent with the prices themselves. ☺ —ConstantiaOomen