With over 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 local 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, Stephen!)
Today we’re talking with Laura Brown, Marketing Team Leader at the Tanasbourne store in Hillsboro, Oregon, just west of Portland. Tanasbourne opened 5 years ago in a bustling community with several schools, tech and medical centers, all surrounded by gorgeous local parks.
What’s the best-kept secret at your store?
We just installed a meat smoker that turns out mouthwatering dishes like fall-off-the-bone pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken quarters. It’s a little bit of the South, but up here in the Northwest. And you’ve got to try our Burger Bar for dinner, with local beers on tap!
What’s the tastiest dish in your store right now?
Our Meat Department has the most amazing oven-ready selection. Whether it’s the breaded cutlets or stuffed chicken breasts, these dishes make it easy for time-crunched families to put high-quality meals on the table, fast.
Got any community donation stories you can share?
We’re passionate about our Hillsboro/Beaverton community and donate daily to at least four local food banks. We’ve also worked with HomePlate, which provides food for homeless youth in our community. Our Team Members made a special trip once to drop off dog food at HomePlate so the youth could feed their pets.
Tell us about one rock star Team Member.
Cindy Braun, our Meat Team Leader, is one of the most creative butchers around. She really thinks about the meal for the customer, which is why we have a great oven-ready section. And don’t miss her chocolate-covered bacon during Valentine’s Day, with flavors like Dark Chocolate Cherry, Toffee or Caramel!
What’s the most crave-able thing in your bakery case?
I’d have to say our Caramel-Filled Brownie Cupcake. (We like to say it’s filled with goopy wonderfulness!)
Who’s the reigning cook-off champ?
We recently held our “Ultimate Mac & Cheese Cook-Off” and customers were able to vote for their favorites. You should have tasted the entries! We had everything from Smoked Chanterelle Mac from our Specialty department to Truffle Mac & Cheese from Grocery. It was a tight fight, but Specialty took the title!
What’s a popular local product your store carries?
My personal favorite is a new vegan addition — HeidiHo Chia Cheez Sauce. It’s perfect with nachos or over broccoli and is made right here in the Portland area. Practically everyone who tries it takes it home.
Got any long-timers? What’s their story?
If you want an inspiring story, talk to our Produce Team Leader, Dave. He started with Whole Food Market 12 years ago in Santa Rosa, CA, working the closing shift in Produce, and eventually every other job in that department. In 2008, Dave opened the Tanasbourne store as Produce Team Leader and was awarded Pacific Northwest All Star last year.
What’s the annual don’t-miss event at your store?
Every year we host our annual “Dogs for Dogs” event to support the Hillsboro Dog Association (HDA), providing dog washes, great food and photos of your. Our community is full of animal lovers!
Tell us about a regular customer who you can’t imagine the store without.
Ann and Moses are a couple who warm our hearts and really epitomize the local culture. They ride their bikes everywhere – even for their business deliveries. Ann and Moses are big into juicing – which can mean a lot of compost! To ensure every bit of it gets used, they drop their compostables off at our store.
Whatcha got going on with local schools or non-profits?
Our Healthy Eating Specialist, Melissa, works with area schools to teach about healthy food choices. Melissa also hosts Kids Cooking Camp during the summer, where kids can learn hands-on how to make yummy and healthy meals. Our store held a “gardening work party” with Forest Grove Elementary in Forest Grove, OR, one of the Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant recipients.
What else makes your store a “hidden gem”?
Our Team Members are some of the most passionate, creative and caring in the company. Whether it’s Amee in Customer Service boosting the Whole Planet Foundation, TMAG Representative Carissa helping the entire crew love their jobs, or Matt and Ramiro ensuring we stick to our Green Mission, we have some real superstars.
Now that you know what makes our Tanasbourne store shine in Hillsboro, Oregon – 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.
The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends 3/31/12, 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.