Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Whole Foods, Milwaukee files

OnMilwaukee.com has seven orgasms just thinking about WF:
Milwaukee has been waiting with bated breath for the highly anticipated Whole Foods Market -- which specializes in selling natural, organic and gourmet foods and is currently celebrating its 25th year of operation -- to open its doors.

Well, the public won't have to wait too much longer since the store's scheduled to open Sept. 20.

Located at the corner of North and Prospect on the East Side, Whole Foods will act as the anchor store for Columbia-St. Mary's Medical Center, which opens in 2010.

"Milwaukee residents have been patiently waiting [sic] the opening of Whole Foods Market, and we are eager to share our passion for truly delicious, fresh, all natural foods with them," said Jon Gass, Whole Foods Market Store Team Leader. "Whether they're seeking the largest selection of organically grown produce, all natural and organic meats, fresh artisanal cheeses, or simply an enjoyable shopping experience with outstanding customer service, we look forward to opening our doors and being a part of the Milwaukee community."


But the Milwaukee location has a few firsts in store for foodies, shoppers and hungry people alike.

Most notably: a first of its kind beer and brat station with flatscreen televisions, six beers on tap and comfortable seating; a taqueria bar, freestanding brick pizza oven, made-to-order sushi and panini stations; and a state-of-the-art open kitchen area, viewable from the store floor.

"We want people to enjoy the store and see it as an excellent meeting place," said Whole Foods PR specialist Kate Klotz, who added that the Milwaukee Whole Foods will have three times the beer selection of any other store in the chain.

I usually refrain from picking on local media boosterism--you know, local bloggers/journalists who believe that if you don't have anything nice to say, say something super nice. Boosterism is probably good for the economy and makes people feel pride for their town. My policy is usually to ignore these people on the theory that denying them publicity is better than giving them the business (in every sense). But this article is more pernicious than your ordinary boosterism, for at least two reasons.

1. WF is competing with local business; it's a giant from outside appropriating our beer-and-brat culture to sell it back to us at a premium.

2. This article doesn't even bother to filter the corporate horseshit PR statements. It quotes them as though they were news.

One more thing:
Whole Foods has scheduled a Job Fair for Aug. 23 at the Midwest Airlines Center.
My Canon A620 and I will check that out if we get the chance.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see how competing with local specialties like the beer and brat station would piss you off and I'm trying to think what WF could do here in Pittsburgh that would be analagous - a pierogie station? But the rest of it sounds pretty fabulous. Our WF doesn't have any of that; no pizza oven, no taqueria bar, no panini station (I don't like sushi), no open kitchen, no TV, flat screen or not.

My son is fond of the WF cheese basket in NY, where they toss bargain-priced odds and ends of different cheeses. He has tried cheese he wouldn't have thought to sample otherwise; we don't even have that in our Pittsburgh WF. When I asked about it at the cheese counter they said they would cut me sample slices of any cheese I wanted to try, but it's not the same as picking through a bargain bin and trying different things.

I also agree that corporate press releases aren't "news".

9:05 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

Hi Rebecca. Those things sound good to me too, I guess. I would rather get sushi from a Japanese restaurant, tacos from an actual taqueria rather than a "taqueria bar" and pizza from a pizzeria, but I have no issue with WF offering me these things. If I don't like them, no one is forcing me to patronize the store.

But their bratwurst have a pretty high standard to live up to. Folks around here insist on grilling brats over charcoal and simmering them in beer. It's hard for me to imagine that the beer-and-brat crowd is going to look to WF for its fix, but I'm not making any predictions.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Waah. We still don't have WF or Trader Joe's in Utah.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I will shop at WF on occasion. They have some great products and their seafood selection is nothing short of amazing. The bratwurst thing disturbs me...then again the whole beer and brat image is so blown out of proportion by the local and national media, I am sure that played a part in this decision. If you think Wisconsinites are really going to forgo Johnsonville, Usingers or Klement’s for something else at Whole Foods, you are insane.

I do not like their stance on items like Foie Gras, Soft Shell Crabs, and Live Lobsters, none of which they will sell for "ethical" reasons. Look, all food is killed before we eat it (well maybe not oysters) but to get on some high horse about soft shell crabs and lobsters is hypocritical and is pandering to the wacko PETA crowd. Foie Gras I guess I can understand, but I personally have no problem with Foie because most cows, pigs, and chickens aren’t treated a hell of a lot better than a duck with a tube down its throat.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

... also if you want to talk about boosterism, the blog "Taste of the Town" is the most guilty of this. She is paid by Visit Milwaukee and if you notice, she never rips anything that she "reviews" I am fine if she wants to be a booster but there really should be a disclamer on her site.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Mrs. M. said...

I went to Whole Foods for the very first time when I was in Madison last weekend. It looked a lot like Outpost but with a slightly bigger selection and higher prices. They were really generous with samples, though. Loved the whole-grain bread, but $6 a loaf? I’d much rather have a Trader Joe’s in Milwaukee.

11:18 AM  
Blogger mzn said...

Jeff, I agree with you about the brats. Presumably they aren't going to carry local brands, which are not (as far as I know) organic/"all natural." That's a dilemma for them.

Yulinka, TJ's is coming to the new Bayshore megamall sometime in late 2006. So are California Pizza Kitchen and a bunch of other upscale national chains. link

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen what the Journal wrote and said about Whole Foods>? OnMilwaukee.com is at least objective and their reporters live in the city. The Journal did about 10 stories on WF. It is great they are here and we should support them.

12:26 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

Anonymous: I have seen some of the Journal Sentinel's coverage. I'm not sure what you're suggesting about the paper's relative objectivity and its reporters not living in the city. Perhaps you can say more and provide links? While you're at it, why not take a name so that I can tell you apart from other commenters?

I don't read enough of onmilwaukee to know if it's objective or not. Frankly, I'm generally suspicious of the media's claims to objectivity. And in the case of the article I linked to in this post, I would say if it is an example of journalistic objectivity, journalistic objectivity is not a goal worthy of anyone's aspirations.

1:11 PM  

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