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One of Our Hidden Gems: Tarzana Store in Southern California

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

Today we’re talking with Jennifer Haigh, Marketing and Community Outreach Specialist at the Tarzana store located in the beautiful San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Tarzana opened right in the heart of this vibrant, family-oriented community Ventura Blvd. — just two and a half years ago, becoming neighbor to thriving businesses and residential homes alike.


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

It’s no secret…we are “The Best Store on the Boulevard”! About a year ago we made this our store credo. Our daily mission is to give our customers the best service and easiest shopping experience in town. Most importantly, we want to make sure we continue to raise the bar and exceed our own highest expectations.

What’s the tastiest dish in your store right now?

Our Specialty team makes a killer spicy Gouda dip. This spread has a kick and is delicious on crackers or crostini and has quickly become a best-seller. When a sample goes out on the floor, it won’t last more than 10 minutes…it’s that good.

SunshineGot any community donation stories you can share?

Last year it was our privilege to provide Thanksgiving dinner to 80 terminally ill children and their families in the pediatric cancer ward of the local hospital. These families are fighting the hardest fight each day, so giving them a warm holiday meal was our way of sending a bit of love and joy their way.

Tell us about one rock star Team Member.

We have one Team Member named Sunshine who wears so many hats that the title on her name badge reads “Store Queen.” She’s the consummate task-mistress and has experience working in just about every department. Did we mention she also has an amazing voice? If you’re lucky, you might hear her break out into a spontaneous version of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” that would likely win applause from the superstar herself!

What’s the most crave-able thing in your bakery case?

Our ‘Made Right Here’ Napoleon desserts, created by our pastry chef, Anita. Napoleons are flaky puff pastries filled with decadent vanilla crème, and Anita often puts her own spin on them by adding a seasonally inspired filling, such as pumpkin crème for fall. Yum!

What kinds of events do you all hold at your stores?

We’ve done everything from partnering with local chefs to host cooking demonstrations to working with a local piano store to bring a grand piano into our store and provide free mini-lessons to customers!

But the biggest draw would be our Winemaker dinners.  Each month, we offer a five course wine pairing dinner for less than $40 per person. A representative from the winery leads the pouring and shares tasting notes on each varietal with our shoppers. It’s a great night that promises delicious fare, fantastic wines and a fun, relaxed vibe for our guests.


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

Each January we host Wellness Week, where we invite our customers to take a health and wellness journey through a series of healthy eating workshops, cooking and juicing classes and vendor demos. It’s a great way to help our shoppers take control of their health and meet their wellness goals in a fun and positive way.

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

We are very proud of our relationships with our neighborhood schools. We host several store tours each month to teach kids about natural and organic foods, show them how to read food labels, and share the importance of supporting our local community. Between September and May we bring nearly 2,000 kids through our store! They not only learn a ton about what we do, but get to try some fun foods, too. It’s a win-win for all!


What else makes your store a “hidden gem”?

Our Wine Bar! It is a little hideaway in the back of the store with a cozy atmosphere and great tapas that has become the go-to place for couples, colleagues and compadres alike.

Our beer and wine selection is unparalleled and you can even have a steak cooked to order from our meat department and delivered right to the bar while you enjoy that exceptional glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Can’t beat that! 

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

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone that entered. Congrats to our randomly chosen winner, Caroline! 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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Danielle says …

The Winemakers dinner looks amazing!

Sara says …

We LOVE our new Del Mar store! Only open 4 weeks and it is a daily stop for lunch and/or dinner. Service is #1 and the staff is 100% focused on the customer experience. What a change from the "larger" chain stores!

j.J. says …

I like the seasonal squash rice salad and the rosemary and garlic roast beef in the deli case at the Kentlands. Love the beef chili and southwestern corn chowder too!

Belinda Abraham says …

I don't drink any kind of alcohol, so I don't anything about it. I like to experiment with wine and beer when I cook. I found out that my store doesn't sell alcohol, but a nearby store does. Since I don't know anything about alcohol or cooking with it, I know that at least one employee can help me, from the store manager to a cashier. This what my store a gem, even though they don't sell alcohol, someone is still willing to help me.

Abigail Herman says …

We consider Tarzana Whole Foods so much more than our local grocer, but rather a source of education, a great date night, and some darn good celeb sighting!

Cimbria Peterson says …

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

Caroline says …

I love how I"m lucky enough to live walking distance from 2 whole foods in portland, OR and a third is less than 5 miles away. In addition, another is close to my work so I have 4 different whole foods to shop at. I feel so lucky!

Ken says …

Portland- Can bring bags and plastic containers for recycling

Stefano says …

Local Store "Hidden Gem" Factor: Organic/Raw Cashews and Organic Dried Cranberries.

Jake says …

Bring back Moe's Smokehouse... Better yet bring back Moe!!!

Howard Levy says …

Hi I recently moved to Encino from Orange County ..I have eaten at numerous Whole Foods & by far my favorite is Newport Bch.. I'm very disappointed in Tarzana ESPECIALLY the hot food bar & the cheese & cheese & wine bar ...The foods are always the same ,no creativity like other stores. The cheese & wine bar employees are not professional in my opinion .I'm not sure why they seem so ungrateful & don't seem to be dressed for the position It is a bar correct??

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HOWARD - Thank you for your feedback. I will make sure to pass this along to store leadership.