Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Pieces Fall Into Place for Mary's Move To Austin
Ann Althouse brought to my attention the fact that Whole Foods in Austin completed their new Landmark Store located on 6th and Lamar. She writes
There's a real appreciation for beauty at Whole Foods. The health theme is not medicinal and puritanical as it is in old fashioned health food stores. Shopping at Whole Foods causes you think of eating well: it's easy to see and feel drawn to things that are both healthful and delicious. That is so helpful! In an ordinary supermarket, you feel torn between the good-for-you and the junk food. You transcend that dilemma at Whole Foods. And the people who work there enhance the experience. Supermarket workers usually seem weary and act like they don't even see you, in the hope that you won't ask for anything. Old fashioned health food store workers tend to channel the puritanical theme of the place or to act as though they're too evolved for the work ethic. Whole Foods employees tend to be alert and friendly and knowledgeable -- and not in a phony or annoying way. And that's not just by chance. They have an excellent training program and a real conception of what they are about. They richly deserve their success.
She links to Richard Lawrence Cohen, an Austinite, who asks:
What do you demand from your grocery store? Do you demand a 1,000-space, four-level parking lot with specially designed escalators that your shopping cart can go on? Do you demand your choice of five separately themed cafes, one for salads, one for meat, one for pasta, one for pizza and charcuterie, and one for seafood with your choice of any fresh catch, your choice of cooking method, and your choice of sauce? How about a four-tiered fountain of liquid chocolate the size of a large wedding cake, into which an artsy young woman continually dips strawberries and cookies. . . . How about grinding your own nut butter (honey-roasted cashew?) and eating it at an outdoor plaza on any kind of bread you can imagine, from blueberry pecan to hempseed to striata? I think you should also demand a walk-in beer cooler with an attendant in a ski parka, and a glass–fronted meat aging room, and a coffee roasting machine roasting varietal beans from 8 am to 10 pm seven days a week, and a cheese counter where you can taste any of 600 kinds of cheese and get a friendly, well–informed lecture on the rind–washing process or the strains of blue–veining bacteria. Do you demand chipotle–marinated buffalo kebabs, or lime–and–basil–marinated tilapia filets, or a smoked salmon sandwich as big as a softball? Do you demand a Putumayo Records listening station decked out as a red London bus? Or perhaps a natural cosmetics section that could swallow up several Body Shops. And of course you must demand a Willy Wonka–style candy factory where the kids can watch their own candy being made before they pop it into their gaping, quivering mouths. Are these among your needs?
Then this is the store for you!

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