Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Uniquely Local

By Jenny Brown, May 21, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jenny Brown

At Whole Foods Market, our local producers – and their products – are truly one-of-a kind. And recipients of our Local Producer Loan Program are no different! From kombucha and raw chocolate to vegan ice cream and sticky toffee pudding, their products reflect the variety that makes our stores such wonderful places to shop. Here are a few of the most unique! Alaska’s Bakery Owner: Noreen Naidus Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Product: Organic dog treats No, Whole Foods Market hasn’t opened a store in Anchorage or Fairbanks! Alaska’s Bakery is named after owner Noreen Naidus’s dog, Alaska. Noreen started Las Vegas-based Alaska’s Bakery in 2007, after having discovered that the organic treats she baked for her dog were popular with others. She has been selling to our stores for about two years. Noreen is using her loan for marketing, ingredients and packaging, which will help her expand her business. Gourmè Mist Owners: Sherene Costanzo and Simona Bunin Location: Coral Springs, Florida Product: Oil misters I know from personal experience that a heavy hand on the oil bottle can totally ruin a meal. So I think that Gourmè Mist is a great idea: eco-friendly misters for oils and vinegars. Some are even organic! And even better: Sherene and Simona are using their loan funds to extend the line into packets of oil and vinegar for food service. BTTR Ventures Owners: Alex Velez and Nikhil Arora Location: Emeryville, California Product: Mushrooms and mushroom kits So, two recent college grads growing mushrooms in a warehouse using leftover coffee grounds (some from our Allegro cafés!) is cool. Using the waste product from those ’shrooms for compost is very cool. But grow-your-own-mushroom kits using those same recycled coffee grounds? That’s just awesome! And that’s what BTTR (pronounced "better") Ventures does. BTTR stands for "Back To The Roots", and these two Berkeley grads certainly embody that spirit. Their loan will help them purchase equipment and expand into a larger space, so that more of our customers can grow their own. ImagiPLAY Owner: Barbera Aimes Location: Boulder, Colorado Product: Earth-friendly toys Ever needed an eco-yo-yo, a wooden fruit cutting set, or a hedgehog rattle? ImagiPLAY has you covered! Not only are Barbera’s wooden toys environmentally responsible, but they will also stimulate your child’s mind while they are having fun. ImagiPLAY’s loan has helped them expand their inventory to serve even more of our stores. Which is a good thing, because, really, what kid doesn’t want Counting Penguins or a Puff the Alphabet Dragon?

Category: Local




Margo says ...
What a fun cross-section of products available. It is heartwarming to see how many people out there are turning the business world around and offering such healthy and inspiring choices!
05/21/2010 10:30:32 AM CDT
Bambi says ...
I loved all the stories. The one about the dog treats I'm going to look into for my mom as her dog has a severe reaction to typical dog food and has been fed human food all her life. The mushrooms sound so exciting I'm going to look for them the next time I'm at WF just because my kids would really love growing their own veggies. Eco toys, we love, I like that you carry Green Toys in your stores as my kids thought it very cool that the toys are made from recycled milk jugs. We are off to WF again this Sat. to get food for our Memorial Day BBQ. =)
05/25/2010 12:53:45 PM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Bambi Glad you liked the stories. We really love having the opportunity to help up and coming local businesses with our Local Producer Loan Program. Remember though, product from these local vendors are generally available in a limited area, not in all of our stores. Thanks for understanding.
05/25/2010 3:47:19 PM CDT
chuck says ...
how do I get my product into whole foods?
05/31/2010 10:20:54 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
@ chuck. Thanks for your interest. You can learn more on our <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/vendors.php" rel="nofollow">Info for Vendors</a> page.
05/31/2010 11:02:25 AM CDT
Rita says ...
I make some unique food items - how do I get them to Whole Foods ?
06/07/2010 9:17:04 PM CDT
Connie@BhimiBlog says ...
I had no idea WF has a program like this to help businesses! How wonderful! And I've seen on your main site that you've helped some people in my state of NC through this program as well! Awesome! Keep up the good work WF :-)
07/18/2010 11:55:28 AM CDT
laurel rosner says ...
got the mushroom kit for xmas but it still has not produced. Instructions are simple but I must be missing something. suggestions?
01/12/2011 7:30:42 AM CST
Dana Varney says ...
We are producing a very high quality of gluten free baking mixes. I am interested in your loan program. We definately are ready to take the products to another level.
03/17/2011 1:58:15 PM CDT
Cheri Partain says ...
How does a local cottage industry (producer) get information on applying for a loan through the Uniquely Local program? The products are not food related.
09/24/2014 7:54:55 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CHERI - Typically the Local Producer Loan Program is for producers of goods but you can find more info on the application process at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission-values/caring-communities/local-producer-loan-program.
09/25/2014 4:52:36 PM CDT