The wait is finally over for the health conscious residents in the Charlotte area. On Wednesday morning, Aug. 29 the much anticipated Whole Foods Market opened its doors to an enthusiastic crowd. While other cities in North Carolina boasted of attaining Whole Foods first, it is obvious that they saved the best for last. The Charlotte location is first class, ideally located and complete with ambience.
Can you say location, location, location? The attractive three leveled Whole Foods Market is located in Sharon Square at 6610 Fairview Ave. between Sharon Road and Ashley Park Lane. Situated in the SouthPark neighborhood, it is in walking distance to the mall and Phillips Place where there are numerous restaurants and boutiques as well as a movie theatre. Parking is convenient as there is also underground parking.
Instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony, there was a traditional “breaking of the bread.” Store employees and management gathered around a gigantic loaf of challah (halla), a delicious Jewish egg bread topped with seeds. After the bread was broken, many attending the ceremony enjoyed a piece of challah. One official said that it was done to bring “good luck.”
Upon entering the store, you are greeted by a large sign with a crown on it that reads “ Welcome to Sharon Road Whole Foods Market.” The walls are a soothing green and in some places there are dark wooded walls, creating a rustic, folksy feeling. There is a moving walkway that leads to the underground parking lot and signs on the wall that says “Don’t be a stranger now” and “We’re glad you came.” At the end of the walkway, you will find a waterfall with a rock garden.
The store has an impressive seating arrangement at each level. There is a marbled top bar area in the back of the store near the wine section. Customers can purchase a card to buy a 2.5 oz or 5.0 oz glass of wine from a dispenser called the Enomatic. This is located on the floor above the bar area and is known as the taste loft. At the Enomatic, you choose a wine glass and place it under your choice of wine. The taste loft has table and chairs as well as lounge styled seating that seats around 49 people. You will be charmed by the amber colored chandelier made with wine bottles.
On the second level above the gelato stand, there is a kid friendly area where kids can play. Outside of this area is the veranda, a bricked balcony with two huge ceiling fans, hanging plants and soft cushioned lounge chairs. The balcony overlooks Fairview Ave. and Sharon Road. There is music softly playing in the background.
Not only is the cooking school located on the third level, but there is more seating for the customers. The room that hosts the cooking school can also be rented for birthday parties, wedding showers, private cooking classes and corporate events.
For more information go to Facebook and search for Whole Foods Market in Charlotte. Part two of this article is coming soon.