FOLLOWUP: Employees cheer as hundreds of shoppers stream into newly opened West Seattle Whole Foods Market

West Seattle’s second grocery-store opening in eight days brought about 600 people streaming into Whole Foods Market (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW; WSB sponsor) in the first 20 minutes. Once inside, those who had been lined up outside got a raucous welcome from a lineup of cheering, applauding employees:

Among those welcoming shoppers, the store’s team leader (aka manager) Gary Ruiz:

The store opened a bit earlier than announced – 8:46 am.

Within 10 minutes, the free tote bags were gone, but greeters continued handing out cards with “mystery savings” – anywhere from $5 to $100, to be scanned at the checkout counters, all of which were soon busy:

For a detailed look at store features (and a review of the 13+-year backstory), see our “sneak preview” published Tuesday. The store is open until 9 tonight (regular hours 8 am-9 pm).

SIDE NOTE: This is West Seattle’s fifth grocery-store grand opening in a decade. Coverage of the previous three:

*One week ago – Rebuilt PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) store
*April 2012 – Trader Joe’s
*August 2011 – Rebuilt Admiral Safeway
*September 2009 – Junction QFC

54 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Employees cheer as hundreds of shoppers stream into newly opened West Seattle Whole Foods Market"

  • Ryan October 9, 2019 (12:01 pm)

    I haven’t been able to figure this out – are there any parking options to shop there? That area was already so impacted.

    • WSB October 9, 2019 (1:51 pm)

      As mentioned again in our preview yesterday, the parking garage for The Whittaker is accessed off the north side of the alley/thruway between the complex’s two buildings, off Fauntleroy or 40th. (If accessing off 40th, it’s between The Whittaker and the Alki Masonic Lodge.) ~200 parking spaces there for shoppers.

      • Chris dyer October 9, 2019 (11:39 pm)

        There’s tons of parking or just walk to WF

  • anonyme October 9, 2019 (12:28 pm)

    It pains me to say it, but this store beats the new PCC.  The layout is well thought out, and the employees were all super-friendly.  The dining area is actually adjacent to the hot bars – imagine that! 

    • RayWest October 11, 2019 (4:04 pm)

      Nice store, but I wasn’t overwhelmed. Now that we have so many similar grocery options, it’s “deja vu all over again.”  Generally nice selection and quality, but pricey. The self-serve hot food bar was just okay (beef was tough, dry chicken wing, etc). Friendly and helpful staff. As I don’t like parking in underground garages, I won’t be a regular shopper. I wish them nothing but success, though.

  • A-Red October 9, 2019 (12:32 pm)

    Wait! Isn’t Whole Foods the company that opportunistically bailed out of a large development project about a decade ago, leaving West Seattle with a massive excavation that sat vacant for several years?

    • WSB October 9, 2019 (2:30 pm)

      Nope, “The Hole” was the fault of its original developer/owners, not WF (or Hancock). We have recapped the history multiple times. But, one more time since we’ve been covering this pretty much the entire span of our 12 years in business:
      -Whole Foods was one of two tenants signed for what was to be the Fauntleroy Place development across SW Alaska, to be developed by a company called Bluestar. This was announced in 2006.
      -The project finally broke ground in 2008. Excavation ensued, but no construction. Then BlueStar ran into trouble in 2009, including lawsuits. Another year passed. Still no construction. In summer 2010, Whole Foods confirmed its deal was dead, telling us, “We feel that it is very unlikely that the site will be built within a reasonable timeframe, if at all.” And in fact, three more years passed – plus a court fight and auction sale (all chronicled here thoroughly) before that site’s new owner started construction. Half a year before that, Whole Foods had signed up to anchor The Whittaker. (Hancock Fabrics btw never commented on why it decided not to open a new WS store at all; the company no longer exists. – TR

      • A-Red October 9, 2019 (2:47 pm)

        Sorry my comment appears twice. For some reason it didn’t show up when I revisited this article. Regarding your point–WF wasn’t the developer–they were most certainly the anchor tenant, and their departure from the project is one big factor why the original developer was unable to sell the development.  Yes, there were lawsuits, but WF was actively trying to get out of their commitment because of The Great Recession that was unfolding.You know more than me, but if speed to market was their motivation, why didn’t they sign on with the new developer once The Hole was eventually sold? The reason that Hole was there so long is 100% because WF bailed, and the new developer had to come up with their own plans and find their own anchor tenant. The development that eventually went into The Hole has been fully built out for a few years now, while Whole Foods is opening… today? 

        • WSB October 9, 2019 (3:22 pm)

          I spent countless hours in court covering the case and no, that’s not what happened at all. Among other things the original developers were trying to sell it two years before Whole Foods ended its involvement. The financial flailing was entirely unrelated.

        • wscommuter October 9, 2019 (4:14 pm)

          You might try separating  yourself from the narrative you want to believe is true and deal in facts as well.  I’m not a Whole Foods fan – no bias for them here – but they had nothing to do with what happened with the “Hole” etc. (and yes – I do have a basis of knowledge about what happened with the Hole and WSB has it exactly right).  If you don’t like WF and choose not to shop there, good for you.  But get your facts straight.  

          • A-Red October 9, 2019 (4:44 pm)

            Whole Foods isn’t my neighborhood store, which is the single driver of where I buy groceries. All of your points are well taken.

  • Matt P October 9, 2019 (12:50 pm)

    FYI: it is illegal to bring non-service animals into grocery stores. I saw a few dogs in there that were definitely just pets.

    • M October 9, 2019 (1:34 pm)

      If bringing a non-service animal into a grocery store was the worst illegal activity tolerated by this city then I’m ok with it. 

      • Wha? October 9, 2019 (2:37 pm)

        I don’t think the comment was it was the worst illegal activity that one could do. Comment was about it IS illegal. Whatever other illegal activity is going on is beside the point. I love pets but I don’t want them in my grocery store.

        • Chuck1 October 9, 2019 (3:56 pm)

          Entitled pet ownership (no leash, no off-limit businesses or public spaces, no cares…) is how it’s DONE in the West Sea. You must be new here ;) 

          • DH October 10, 2019 (7:29 am)

            Sad but true. 

    • Mariem October 9, 2019 (11:29 pm)

      If that’s the case I won’t shop there. I want to applaud metropolitan  market for enforcing regulations around non-service animals. I shop there more now that I no longer see non-serviceanimals in the store! 

  • onion October 9, 2019 (1:05 pm)

    I visited after the initial rush, around 11:00, and found the underground parking to be ample and spacious — possibly more spaces (garage or open air) than any of the other supermarkets in the area. Pluses seemed to be the varied seafood counter and generous ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook options. No bulk spices, but a good selection of reasonably priced spices in small plastic baggies. This store will be a great option for people who live in or near the triangle, plus commuters passing by on Fauntleroy. I’m sure other people will see additional pluses and minuses. I live on the north end, so my primary go-tos will remain PCC, Metro, TJs, and Safeway. But I can envision shopping at WF from time to time.

  • Pinkmoon October 9, 2019 (1:26 pm)

    Bummer… I wanted to store open later than 9pm… :( 

    • Diane October 9, 2019 (3:14 pm)

      me too; I’m really surprised they’re only open til 9pm; I was going to check it out tonight after getting out of meeting a block away at 9:30pm; glad PCC is open til 11pm

  • anonyme October 9, 2019 (1:57 pm)

    M- your statement is completely illogical.  Are you saying only the “worst” illegal activities should be noted?  Pets in grocery stores may not be the worst activity ever, but the attitude that even some illegal activity should be “tolerated” is just idiotic, and leads to our current state of affairs where everyone decides individually which laws they like and which they don’t.  Where are the adults?

  • Fitz October 9, 2019 (1:59 pm)

    Waiting in line…  to overpay for food…     huh?

    • DH October 10, 2019 (7:36 am)

      Well. I do that at PCC for other reasons but I won’t be doing it with the corporate giant cutting benefits to its on the ground employees while making shareholders and its CEO ridiculously wealthy. I actually lived in Austin when it started. It was so awesome to have a store like that in that place/time. I had friends that raved about the shared decision making process and good benefits. Those days are gone or going with it’s new owner. I won’t be supporting them. 

  • Scott October 9, 2019 (2:50 pm)

    Fritzy….there are items within the normal range. You can learn how to be a sensible shopper, it’s not too late.  Granted, please stay away from the imported cheese department at this time.  

  • Alex October 9, 2019 (2:51 pm)

    I second Pinkmoon’s comment. 9pm is really early for a grocery store to close IMO. I get off work close to 8pm so it pretty much rules that out. I went to PCC last night for my first time on my way home from work to grab some hot bar food for dinner and felt like I was shooed away from the hot bar at 8:30 because the employee wanted to “wrap it up”. There were a few of us hovering around to get food and between the food clearing and the person sweeping around the bar it felt really unwelcoming . One of the folks asked what time they usually close the hot bar and they said 8:30/ 9pm depending…  It’s like when a bar or restaurant opens in your neighborhood and displays “open until midnight” and then 2 weeks later you stop by and they are closing at 11 because it was “kind of slow”. No chance to even try and establish yourself with specific hours in the community because employees want to get off work early. I have always been baffled by the fact that so many restaurants, close so early in West Seattle. In the summertime everything is closed by the time I even start thinking about food because the sun is still up. Oh well, sorry for the venting but we have so many big city problems yet it feels like Mayberry after 8:30pm.  Still love you WS. 

    • Diane October 9, 2019 (3:20 pm)

      totally agree; I went to PCC on opening “day” at 9:30pm, to explore, and all the hot food was already cleared out and staff sweeping/cleaning; 21 years in WS and still can’t believe how nearly everything closes down so dang early; I’ve been advocating for Trader Joe’s to stay open til 10pm ever since they opened here; I wonder if this new WF is just matching TJ’s hours; whatever, I wish everything would stay open way later

    • Dawsonct October 9, 2019 (5:59 pm)

      No kidding! As a former cook and chef, I used to go round and round with restaurant owners in the Summertime. Dinner service absolutely should be extended to at least 11 in Seattle during the Summer. I also tried to get one restaurant I worked in that had a terrific Elliott Bay/Olympics view, to have a 3:30-4:30 midwinter sunset happy hour. It was like talking to a blank wall. Happy hour continued to start at 5, which was sort of nice, prepping for service in a quiet restaurant while another spectacular sunset was taking place. Still, I think the profits would have been preferable.WF closing at 9?! That’s just idiotic.

  • melissa October 9, 2019 (3:07 pm)

    Just a reminder that Amazon just decided to cut health insurance for part-time Whole Foods employees who formerly had health insurance. I don’t care if it’s nicer than PCC in some ways, it won’t get my money. People before profits and all that.

    • Chuck1 October 9, 2019 (4:05 pm)

      Thank you for saying this, Melissa. Yeah, with all the other great options nearby that aren’t owned by what is essentially a very dark corporate entity (does anyone really think paying Zero taxes is in any way fair to all the other US business and small companies that DO?), I don’t intend to give WF a dime. In socially conscious Seattle I’m actually surprised at how people look the other way on Amazon’s misguided policies. Treat your part-time WFs people like humans, Amazon/Bezos! 

    • my two cents .... October 9, 2019 (6:22 pm)

      @melisssa @chuck1 – don’t forget to gang up on Metropolitan Market taking our dollars out of the country to Korea (owners now) …. Kroger/QFC for laying off hundreds around the country … Safeway overlords who are private equity and are wringing out every dollar … new seasons labor issues … pcc higher price than big chains … sorry, you don’t have to dig very far to find some reason to be outraged over Company X, just don’t single them out at the expense of the others. Too often the comments here seem to either take a holier than though approach – or tear and burn it all down.

      • Lynn October 10, 2019 (11:36 am)

        @My TWO CENTS – thanks for pointing this out. People like to cherry pick which corporate company to hate on, in this case it’s Amazon, because it’s popular, it seems. Half of the people I know working part time in the service industry don’t have insurance. It’s not an Amazon thing so quit singling them out.  Go ask your server at the pizza restaurant down the street from where you live if their company offers them benefits. If they do, good for them! But more than likely you will find many part time workers don’t get those benefits.

        • k October 10, 2019 (12:19 pm)

          The pizza restaurant down the street does not generate the massive amounts of wealth that Amazon does.

    • JB October 10, 2019 (9:10 am)

      Do the other WS grocery stores offer benefits to part-time employees?

  • Diane October 9, 2019 (3:25 pm)

    TR, is it just me? it seems the comment “edit” function has disappeared again 

    • WSB October 9, 2019 (3:32 pm)

      Checking …. yeah, looks like it might have. Our tech team updated some back-end stuff the past few nights and it might have been a casualty. Will have them check, thanks.

      • Matt P October 9, 2019 (5:34 pm)

        That’s funny because I’ve never had the edit functionality until today.      

  • cass n. October 9, 2019 (3:28 pm)

    I was surprised at how much I liked it. The new PCC didn’t win me over, alas–not an easy store to shop at, crazy non-intuitive layout, although I’ll still shop there. Loyalty goes a long way. But I liked the new WF–found it welcoming, easy to navigate, and the prices were lower than PCC (sorry guys!). Not sure I”ll be a regular–too much plastic, bottom line. But I really did like it, nice value add to West Seattle, imo.

  • aa October 9, 2019 (3:45 pm)

    Such a fussy bunch of people with high class problems. We are lucky enough to live in a city of unbelievable choice.  Here’s a thought, we all just shop where we want and respect each other’s choices.And maybe give these stores and new staff time to work out the kinks. 

    • wscommuter October 9, 2019 (4:17 pm)

      Your comment makes way too much sense.  You’re killing the vibe of entitled bitching that thrives so well here.  Please quit being sensible.  

    • Amy October 9, 2019 (6:48 pm)

      Hahahaha!!! This comment made my day! Fussy people with high-class probz. Too funny! Love my West Seattle peeps. 

      • DH October 10, 2019 (7:44 am)

        If supporting worker benefits over corporate profits make me a high class complainer I’ll wear that with pride. God forbid upper middle class people should care about working class people and use their financial resources and choices to support practices they care about. 

    • Lynn October 10, 2019 (11:40 am)

      Exactly. Sick of the complainers. Holier than thou nonsense. Please – if you want to care about part time workers not getting benefits than you’d be boycotting  a whole lot more businesses than just Amazon. But it’s easy to cherry pick to hate on Amazon because hey, it’s cool to hate them, riiiiight? Don’t like Whole Foods? Go shop somewhere else and quit judging the people who do like going there.

  • cass October 9, 2019 (4:43 pm)

    Thank you both, AA and WSCommuter. The culture of complaint seems bottomless. To be honest, I like ’em all, for different reasons. Sometimes just cuz the bike rack is well placed!

    • Monty Gravittss October 10, 2019 (9:13 pm)

      Yes but they are placed 3 degrees too eastward, and get only 6 hours of sun on sunny days. They should have placed them westward 3 degrees and also made them 3/4 inch higher. I have a German Ghreitt-600 bicycle costing $1200 and it scratches the roll bar when I have to lock it that low. Oh, and the free coffee from the truck was fantastic, but I had better in Portugal 6 years ago while biking with my Ghreitt-500 and a friend who owns a lot of stuff including paintings from a guy I have never heard of, so he must have been good. I studied art. Also, a kid in his stroller was crying while I was sampling the pumpkin cookies. There’s more, but I need to make a phone call. (the above is a joke. I am reacting to the negative notes and supporting the positive)

  • Tim October 9, 2019 (6:20 pm)

    Choices? I live below the Junction and can walk to WFs, TJs, Safeway and QFC. Plus Husky’s. Oh yah and the Farmers Market. What a life! Plus the pot store. I love the Junction. Not to mention EB Brewery.WFs will be my buffet option. I don’t think I’ll push a cart around in there to shop. PCC is awesome also. 

  • Dave October 9, 2019 (7:12 pm)

    I agree that we are lucky to have choices of where to shop. I shop at all of them and Thriftway too.  

  • Getreal October 10, 2019 (6:51 am)

    Should we just be grateful all these stores compete to take our money? Criticism? Which is a good corporate citizen and neighbor? Which invests in the environment and producers?…takes care of our neighbors (their employees)? What’s their corporate structure? B-corp? Be informed on what you support with your dollars. WF is fine, but its no friend, it’s a business focused on the bottom line. That’s Amazon’s model.

  • cass October 10, 2019 (8:38 am)

    In the Cesar Chavez days, I boycotted and picketed Safeway over their vast slavish misuse of farmworkers and attendant rights. It lasted a long time, we succeeded in some areas, failed in others, Safeway didn’t crumble, didn’t go out of business but to this day I won’t shop at Safeway…I find that sort of funny, but that’s how it is. WF and others may be the same for this generation and basically, I think you gotta fight the fight you think is right. I think WF’s sins are far and away less onerous than the Chavez era farmworker fight, but who knows, maybe not. 

  • Tracey October 10, 2019 (9:42 am)

    For anyone seriously considering the issue, this is a good read.  A little dated but still relevant I think.  At minimum, you will learn the origination of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk!

  • birdrescuer October 10, 2019 (10:15 am)

    Bezo just cut their benefits and health care.  Don’t shop there.  PCC is more just to employees and customers.

  • QuinoaWithSideofHate October 10, 2019 (11:15 am)

    No one has mentioned that Amazon, who owns Whole Foods, is also the last large corporate supporter of Breitbart, the white supremacist propaganda site. While other corporate supporters and hundreds of smaller companies stopped advertising with this hate-driven organization, Amazon continues its steadfast support all in the name of Bezos’ bottomless greed.

  • Cass October 10, 2019 (12:02 pm)

    Good read, thanks Tracey!

  • skeeter October 10, 2019 (12:38 pm)

    What we need in West Seattle is a Dollar Tree store.  I’m tired of driving to White Center for reasonably priced merchandise and groceries. 

  • WSsuperwoman October 13, 2019 (9:13 pm)

    I was there on opening day and it lacked a lot of the normal hot-bar items that are usual at their other locations. It was really disappointing to not have hot fried tofu, or their coconut veggie soup – my faves! But I totally hear the other comments and agree that I’m excited to have them around, the store is lovely and that we need to give them time to get into their groove :) 

Sorry, comment time is over.