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.
Got 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.