News

Whole Foods To Open Bellingham Location In 2016

Whole Foods announced today that they will be opening a new location in Bellingham sometime during 2016. The store will be located at 1030 Lakeway Drive, the space previously occupied by The Market At Lakeway, across the street from Fred Meyer. Once open, the location will be the 11th Whole Foods Market in Washington.

Whole Foods estimates that the new location will bring roughly 150 full and part-time jobs to the community. The company’s president for the Pacific Northwest Region, Joe Rogoff, had this to say about the opening:

“We’ve long believed that Bellingham is a wonderful fit for Whole Foods Market because the community’s values are so in line with our own. Building healthy communities, supporting local producers and working in partnership with area schools and nonprofits are central to who we are, and we’re excited to share this with Bellingham. We look forward to serving the community by providing a wide selection of natural and organic food and an extensive selection of non-GMO-verified products.”

Currently, the closest Whole Foods locations to Bellingham are in BC. The closest U.S. location is in Lynwood. The location will feature a fishmonger, butcher, baker, and takeout meals created in-house.

Despite the influx of jobs and potential revenue from cross-border shopping, the announcement has already met with some controversy. Many posts from locals on Facebook express concern that the new business will drive customers away from local organic options such as the Co-op and Terra Organica. Others have expressed doubts over the nature of a “chain organic” store, or the high prices often associated with the company.

Perhaps the real question is whether the Whole Foods can even survive in the location, given the fate of its predecessor in the space. Occupying a location across the street from Fred Meyer will make generating revenue a greater challenge than normal for the store. Whether the appeal of Whole Foods’ style and organic offerings will allow it to compete with Fred Meyer’s lower prices and the co-op’s local pride is a question only time can answer.

What do you think about Whole Foods coming to Bellingham? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: Whole Foods Image Library

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias is a full-time contributor to Bellingham Business News, covering local business events, tech news, and advice for job seekers in the Bellingham area. He graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in History and Chinese Language & Cultural Studies, and has previously worked as a coordinator in Western’s Writing Center.

3 Comments

  1. Marshal G
    February 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    As a co-op member, I’d feel a bit guilty shopping there, but then it all comes down to selection and price. The Market didn’t survive because most of what they sold you could buy across the street way cheaper. I shopped there sparingly for specialty stuff I couldn’t get anywhere else. My finances are a lot better than they were then, and since it’s going to be 2 blocks from my condo I’ll definitely give them a fair chance to win my business. I also appreciate the Canadian money it would bring to town.

  2. February 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the input Marshal! We’ll be interested to see how the situation develops.

  3. jd
    January 4, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I can’t wait for it to open – I want to work at this Bellingham location! I’ve worked in a small town organic grocer and while it was the best job for me in that tiny town, it was tough to survive on the 8.00 an hour pay. A lot of customers think they own you and it was actually the hardest job in terms of feeling respected/valuable to your community. The nearest WF to me was 3.5 hours away and I’d try to stock up if I drove through the city, lol! Because I couldn’t afford organic produce/essentials at my tiny grocery store! Like I wanted to – but really I could barely afford rent and heat. I was serving a higher class of elite, special customers who “support local” but they can’t support living wages, or at least be nice to cashiers that not only cashier but run the store (in small grocers, we take inventory, receive and unpack shipments, price things, make hot foods, distribute the bulk items and clean up toilets and vomit and spills and get yelled at by old ladies all while our job title is “Cashier”.. I constantly had to fight to get hours and I worked overtime without overtime pay. I got two more jobs to make rent. But I mean, no one else knows that when they check out at my line. I loved it for one or two people who worked there – but when they left I left as well. I moved to a city and got a job at WFM as a cashier. My supervisors have always stood up for me when an unreasonable customer demands special treatment. And when I got the job I was getting paid well over min. wage. Few months later I get the option to switch to full time. I wish I could work in lovely small town and earn enough to pay rent and fill up the oil tank, because I’m supporting a small local business and that’s the right thing to do… right? I don’t know how people think there’s clear cut right or wrong. There are too many variables in the food system, in food distribution models, and in job security. I just want to earn a living. Some of you who are rich enough, privileged enough to choose more expensive local options – I envy you. Some of you who are just trying to get by and you’re trying to afford slightly better food than canned spaghetti os and junk – get it from wherever you can. It’s just a change, a transition to better food. At my old job, I saw older, white, wealthy shoppers buying 500-600$ worth of groceries per week. At my WF I see diversity in skin colors, economic backgrounds, in occupation… WF gave me the ability to live and enjoy my life and I’m proud of how good we are at serving a wider clientele. YAY FOR JOBS!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post

Downtown Bellingham's Newest Hot Spot: HotPoint & Tea Express

Next post

8 Bellingham Networking Events You Should Be Attending