Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

One of Our Hidden Gems: Mill Plain in Vancouver

Mill PlainWith over 340 stores (and counting!), we’ve got a lot of hidden gems out there. Get the story behind the store in this eight-store series. Maybe your store will be featured next!

Read on to find out how you could win a $50 gift card to Whole Foods Market®. UPDATE: Thanks to everyone that entered. Congrats to our randomly chosen winner, Nichole!

Today we’re talking with Andrea Stafford, Marketing and Community Relations Team Leader at the Mill Plain store in Vancouver, Washington.

What’s the best-kept secret at your store?

Our specialty department does Friday Night Flights. Each week, they take a different category of cheese and pair it with wine, beer, olives, crackers, and select charcuterie. It’s a fabulous way to get ideas for your next party!

If I walk into your store for the first time, what should I absolutely not miss?

Our produce department! We’re loaded with organic options and feature lots of From Around Here seasonal produce. The selection can’t be ‘beet’!

Got any behind-the-curtain surprises you can share?

Our produce department saves inedible produce for local livestock farmers. We have one hog farmer, one goat farmer, and seven chicken farmers who take advantage of this service.

Tell us about one rock star Team Member.

Our new healthy eating specialist, Sara, is a registered dietician, a graduate from Bastyr, and super knowledgeable about food and nutrition. For her first ever Health Starts Here® 28-Day Challenge, she had 40 people successfully complete the program. She has inspired many and brought much enthusiasm to healthy eating.

Mill Plain

What’s the most popular local product your store carries?

Cobo Loco Tortilla Chips! Our team members and customers can’t get enough of them.

What’s the annual don’t-miss event at your store?

Every year we do a Taste of Thanksgiving event that benefits SHARE of Vancouver. The customers get to sample our favorite Thanksgiving items, listen to some local music, and help out our local community.

Tell us about a regular customer who you can’t imagine the store without.

We have customers who frequent our store almost every day. One in particular: Jason works at Pacific Middle School and is very involved with teaching students how to eat properly; he even implemented it into his Science class – which now actively helps run the school garden that our Team Members have volunteered their time to help with.

Mill Plain

Whatcha got going on with local schools or non-profits?

For Earth Month, we challenged the Evergreen School District’s students to create a piece of art out of recycled materials. The themes were sustainable seafood, organics, reduce/reuse/recycle and sustainable agriculture. Nine schools took the challenge, with 706 students participating in creating the artwork. Our store is hosting an Art Opening Gala on April 11th from 5-7pm to highlight some of these pieces.

Now that you know what makes our Mill Plain store shine in Vancouver – tell us: what makes your local store a hidden gem?

Share your comment below by Sunday, March 31 and you’ll be entered to win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card. Enter once on each “hidden gems” blog post, running from March 20 – March 29, for more chances to win.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends 3/31/13, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

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Fiza Ahmed says …

I think what Jason's doing is amazing! If we can start educating our children on the value of healthy eating, we can address this problem childhood obesity early on and really make a difference. Bravo Jason!

Anne says …

I think it is great to have the community to be involved with sustainability. The early-access participation of young students will definitely help them to become more environmentally-friendly adults!

Belinda Abraham says …

There are lot of dietary restrictions out there, e.i. Gluten and Casein free, Gluten free, Lactose Free and etc. No matter how big or small the selection is for each diet restriction I know there is something there that I want/need. This is what makes my store a hidden gem, knowing that my store cares about everyone and their diet restrictions.

Amanda Heller says …

This place rocks! Was just there a couple weeks ago. Love the staff. Thanks for the write up.

jim rodney says …

I follow the Dr Joel Fuhrman diet -- which your store promotes in the book department. Dr Joel Fuhrman is also the inventor of the "ANDI" Score which Whole Foods features throughout the produce department. The Dr Fuhrman diet protocol for autoimmune disease is an especially strict diet. This diet requires a wide range of greens, cruciferous vegetables, onions, mushrooms, beans and berries. Foods on this medical diet protocol must not contain added sweeteners, added oils, added salt and refined foods. Yet your store carries all of the fresh produce and frozen foods which this strict medical diet requires. Amazing to find so many healthful choices in one store. Thanks.

Carla says …

Our Whole Foods is a gem because of the many public friendly events it offers, including a free compost offering! I look forward to the compost giveaway every year to help my organic gardening efforts

liz vladimirova says …

I Love how you continue to give back to the Community not just in the best customer service but in really keeping fresh organic food Simple and affordable and teaching consumers how much better you feel in the long run. Invest in your Health now. My kiddos don't ever get sick because I invest in there Health with going back the basic giving them lots of fresh fruite and veggies. Keep up the great work Whole Food Team!

Gretchen Maser says …

Although WFM does SO many wonderful reach-out and community based events/promotions/programs, what I find so amazing is the loyalty that has been established between WFM and ALL of the communities they reside in. Well deserved, win-win for all!!

Jennifer S says …

I think that what the science teacher is doing is great, might just bring this up at our next school site meeting.

Terry says …

The Health Starts Here challenge looks great. Congratulations to Sara and, well, of course, a Bastyr Naturopathic College graduate is going to be a wellspring of great inspiration and information. I would come visit, yet my Whole Foods in Beaverton, OR is a hidden gem to me. Erin Rosvold is a wonderful resource there for Gluten-Free classes. Thanks, Whole Foods!

Senia says …

This is my "hometown" store, so I'd have to agree - a gem! Shopping at Whole Foods makes grocery shopping an enjoyable experience versus one more errand to get through. Thanks for bringing health, inspiration, natural products, and delicious foods into our lives!

Alex says …

My local store has one of the best baked goods sections around. They always have local cookies, cakes, etc. and they taste yummy!

dorie says …

Whole Foods Mill Plain is truly our local hidden gem! Feeding our body, mind, spirit and community with outstanding quality foods, services and goods! Need I say more?

BrittneyNova says …

I have recently fell completely in love with Whole Foods! My fiancée and I love shopping at our Omaha Whole Foods and finding new ways to make our lives healthier. Each time we visit (at least once a week!) we find a new whole food to incorporate into our diets.

nichole wilson says …

I love the fact that Sara, RD, is active in helping customers transform their lives--admirable and inspiring.

j.J. says …

I am totally addicted to the fresh guacamole at the Kentlands. It is so buttery good when they mash the avocados right in front of you.

Beki M. says …

I love that my local Evanston WF always has milk, eggs, fruit & veggies from nearby midwest farms.

Stefano says …

Local Store "Hidden Gem" Factor: Montebello Organic Virgin Olive Oil.

Danielle says …

Jason is amazing! Thanks whole foods.

Cimbria says …

Love the all natural shave ice at our local Kailua store!

Caroline says …

My whole foods does the peanut and that white block foam recycling several times a year. At one event, I walked over with my 2 kids and a bag of foam to recycle. I couldn't find the dropoff, but a team member was kind enough to take it for me. I love my whole foods.

Ken says …

Portland- Can bring bags and plastic containers for recycling