Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Updated: Recovering from Ike

By Winnie Hsia, September 19, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Winnie Hsia

Updated 09/19/08

We just for an email from Sandra 'Mama' Himes, our Executive Coordinator of Operations with an update about our Houston and Sugar Land store hours! All of our Houston area stores, including our location in Sugar Land will be open 9am to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday. Next week, our store hours will be 8am to 9pm and after then, we will return to our regular hours. Thanks to everyone for hanging in there with us.

Updated 09/17/08

All Houston Stores will be Open Tomorrow As of 1:15 today, all of our Houston locations and our Sugar Land location have been restored with full city power and water.  Our Bellaire store will open tomorrow and all of our locations will continue operating with limited hours.  Specific hours are still variable due to low stock and shorthanded staff, but we will let you know once we have been restored to regular hours. Ice, Wifi and Cell Phone Charging Available at Whole Foods in Central Ohio Between 8 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, both Whole Foods locations, Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington and one in Dublin on Sawmill Road, will be giving away free ice to anyone who needs it. There is a maximum of 50 pounds per customer. Ice also will be available around 10 a.m. Wednesday. Plus, Whole Foods Market in Dublin has outlets to charge cell phones and free WIFI. Read more about power outages in Central Ohio. We will continue to provide new updates at they come in!

Updated 09/16/08

Our team members have been incredible throughout this entire ordeal, working hard on behalf of the community, despite the personal hardships they have endured over the past few days.  We'd like to offer our heartfelt thanks for their efforts during this difficult time.

Initial estimates of the damage caused by Ike top 22 billion dollars, making it the third costliest storm on record in the United States.  Curfew in the city of Houston is in effect until Friday and our stores will continue operating limited hours until further notice.

Here's the latest info from our Houston area stores:

Kirby Open with city power and water.

Wilcrest Open with city power and water.

Sugar Land Open with city power and water.

Woodway Opens today at noon.  Generator powered and has water.

Bellaire This location is still without power and Bellaire Team Members have been sent to help out at our other four stores, which are still short handed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to everyone who has sent well wishes for those of us who were in the path of Hurricane Ike. Wanted to give you an update on what's going on from the perspective of our stores.

Throughout Houston, many of the roads are impassible due to downed power lines and trees.  Access to gas is extremely challenging since only a handful of stations have power to operate their pumps.

So far, we've been able to open three of our five stores for very limited pockets of time.  Among the hundreds of grocery stores in Houston, these three stores are part of about 20 grocery stores city-wide that have been able to reopen at all.

Ice is the primary need. We are bringing in about five trucks of ice a day. Each store gets about 30 pallets and we sell through this in a few hours.

Here's a rundown on our specific stores:

Note: We are not publishing store hours here because they vary depending on the city curfew as well as the supply of ice and non-perishables available.

Kirby We have power but no water. We can only sell non-perishables, fruit and milk.

Wilcrest We have power but no water. Selling non-perishables only.

Sugar Land We are fully powered and have water. Over the next 2-3 days, we will be fully functional in this store.

Woodway This store is still closed due to lack of power and water.  Hope to have a generator connected soon.

Bellaire This store is still closed due to lack of power and water.  We are hoping to restore power to this location soon.

Thanks to all of our team members who are working so hard to get these stores open so we can meet the needs of the community. Most of our team members are living without power and water just like everyone else. It is also challenging for them to get to the stores with roads impassable and gas hard to find. We thank everyone for their patience as we all work through this crisis together.

We will keep you updated with more information as it comes in.

 

8 Comments

Comments

Viv says ...
Thanks - this was really helpful information. Any updates from today? Power is coming back on pretty quickly, so hopefully all of your stores will have it soon!
09/16/2008 11:44:26 AM CDT
Kent says ...
Please publish your hours!!! I wasted gas and work time only to find out that the parking lot was closed.
09/18/2008 8:53:52 AM CDT
Saundra says ...
Please publish the temporary/limited hours on this blog. Thank you for your support of the community!
09/17/2008 6:46:59 AM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@Kent I am sorry to hear that you were inconvenienced due to our limited hours. At the present time, we're unable to post our hours for our Houston locations as due to low stock and shorthanded staff. Once we have information on definite store hours, we will announce them here and in our other forums.
09/18/2008 11:47:11 AM CDT
Concerned Guest says ...
It has come to my attention that business is operating "as usual" at many of the Houston area stores, which is all good. My concern is that there are still many employees there that don't have power and are themselves continuing to suffer hardships after Ike. What is being done to assist them in their time of need when they are working so hard to serve the community at large? I know that it is store policy to throw away or recycle many unsold, but still good perishables, even after a portion has been donated. Couldn't these left over perishables be made available to the employees to take home to their families in this time of need? It may actually be the employees of the stores that need more than the patrons that can regularly afford to shop there. Just think of the stories they hear and the stress they are under as they serve the patrons and also try to cope with their own stresses once they leave work. I know the Kirby store had ice saved back for the employees and a community help list for those that do and do not have power, but I'm aware that hasn't happened at some of the other stores. While store policies are important to have, I feel it is also important lift store policies when there is a dire need, especially now with recovery from Ike underway. In my opinion, until store hours resume to normal at all stores, anything that is perishable that is currently being thrown away (and hence, written off) could be made available to all store employees to take home to their families. Thanks for listening. Jennifer, a Concerned Guest
09/22/2008 8:42:26 AM CDT
Erieka Pimentel says ...
WOW! What a mess! It is great to see how well Whole Foods is working with what you have to make the best of an awful situation.It is great to know that you are trying to do your best to take care of your customers! Great job! Erieka
09/15/2008 1:07:34 PM CDT
Krytondra says ...
I've always heard that times like these can bring out the best in people and Sunday I saw it first hand! We went on the hunt for food and water when we found out you would open with much needed supplies. After an hour wait we were greeted at the door by managers who I'm sure were still without power and water themselves, and a store FULL of employees probably in the same predicament. There was nothing but smiles, hard work, and an overwhelming willingness to help. I was floored and deeply touched to see so many people putting their personal worries aside to come to our aid with water, ice, fresh produce, and milk. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
09/15/2008 2:03:50 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@Concerned Guest We understand your concerns about taking care of our employees during this difficult times. I spoke with Scott Simons of our Southwest Region and here's what he's told me: 'When most of Houston was without power, all team members were given free ice to take home. On the first day back to work, all team members were treated to a fresh-prepared, hot meal at their stores. Regarding “leftover” perishable product, there really isn’t any to speak of. Sales are quite brisk and there is not much excess product. Also, after the storm, all the perishable product that was in the store had gone bad, so we were not able to give it away, unfortunately. Also, we have a Team Member emergency fund available for all Team Members. They simply must request assistance through the fund and the process is extremely short. The fund is not available for all Team Members in Houston just because the storm happened, but if there is a Team Members who is truly experiencing a major life challenge, they are welcome to apply, no matter the situation.'
09/23/2008 12:47:20 PM CDT