'Bigger and brighter' Whole Foods opens in Wheaton

Bigger and brighter is what Whole Food shoppers can expect when they walk through the company's new Wheaton store Wednesday morning.

The 55,000-square-foot store, located in the former Dominick's space at 89 Danada Square East, opens at 9 a.m.

Local officials and Whole Foods representatives will take part in a bread-breaking ceremony at 8:45 a.m. to mark the opening and the first 500 customers will receive a gift card valued between $5 and $50. One customer will get a $500 gift card.

The store was moved from its 40,000-square-foot location around the corner in the Rice Lake Square Shopping Center, which opened in 1997. Any remaining products at the original location will be donated to the People's Resource Center and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Hours at the new store will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Some of the biggest changes in the new location are the addition of the new Butterfield Taproom, a small cafe and bar where shoppers can grab coffee beverages, including lattes and cappuccinos, or some wine or beer. The bar features 24 mostly local rotating beers on tap.

Just beyond the Taproom, on the south side of the store, are expanded to-go options. Customers can pick out salads, burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and other small plates, place their order on a kiosk and wait for the order to appear on a large screen, signifying it's ready. Ample seating near the front of the store provides a space for those customers who are grabbing a quick bite to eat.

“People want to eat healthy, they want to eat with clean ingredients, but they don't have the time to go home and make it,” said Whole Foods spokeswoman Allison Phelps. “This is one of the ways we can better serve our customers.”

Large windows in the bakery and meat department give customers an up close look at what the butchers and bakers are working on.

Guests who enter on the north end of the building will be greeted by fresh produce, a juice bar and a seafood counter that features take-home sushi and sustainably sourced fish. Other expanded sections include the cheese department, which features more than 200 specialty cheeses, and the bulk department, with about 170 bulk pantry staples and 60 bulk spices.

Several times a year, the store will host community giving days when 5 percent of sales will be donated to a local nonprofit or educational organization. Five elementary schools from Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 will each receive 1 percent of sales from the first five days the store is open. Those schools are Lowell on Wednesday, Emerson and Thursday, Longfellow on Friday, Madison on Saturday and Lincoln on Sunday.

“We're excited,” Phelps said. “We've been waiting for the day that we could open our doors and offer the Wheaton community a newer, bigger store. They have been loyal, longtime shoppers, so the fact that we can offer them something bigger and better to enhance their experience is something we're very proud of.”

  The new Whole Foods in Wheaton has an expanded bakery with a large window where customers can watch the bakers at work. Mark Black/
  The Butterfield Taproom on the south end of a new Whole Foods store in Wheaton will serve coffee, beer and wine that people can enjoy while shopping. Mark Black/
  The new Whole Foods in Wheaton has expanded bulk offerings. Mark Black/
  Self-ordering kiosks for customers looking to grab a quick bite to eat is one new feature at the expanded Wheaton Whole Foods. Mark Black/
  A juice bar greets shoppers who enter the new Whole Foods in Wheaton on the north side of the building. Mark Black/
  Fresh produce is ready for when the doors of the new Whole Foods in Wheaton open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Mark Black/
  Expanded offerings of produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, cheese and bulk items are waiting for customers at the new Wheaton Whole Foods. Mark Black/
  The new Wheaton Whole Foods is about 15,000 square feet larger than its original location around the corner in the Rice Lake Square Shopping Center. Mark Black/
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