S.J. Collins Enterprises

The 411 on 365

365 by Whole Foods Market invited thousands of its closest friends to the official FullSizeRenderreveal party for the organic grocery store’s new brand in Silver Lake, Calif. last week. Several team members from S.J. Collins Enterprises were among the first people to walk inside the newly opened store.

“It was incredible,” said Jeff Garrison, partner at S.J. Collins, the Georgia-based development firm that is currently developing several retail centers across the country anchored by either a Whole Foods Market or a 365 by Whole Foods.

“This is exactly what we’re hearing the market wants,” he said.

Photos from the S.J. Collins team show “salads for days” as one team member put it. “Whether you want a fresh barbeque chicken salad, a cobb salad or blue cheese chicken salad – it’s all there and it’s all made fresh that morning,” said Garrison.

He also noted that there is a quick do-it-yourself order and go station and self-checkout for those visitors using a credit card.

The Silver Lake store also displayed a great salad bar, fresh sushi made daily and warm lunches for executives on the go, and made to order quickly or pre-prepared. There were also several order stations where shoppers can pick up pizza and hot dogs.

“It reminded me of the Whole Foods Markets you see in larger cities like Manhattan and Denver, which resembles more of a food hall,” said Garrison. “To me, it is exactly the kind of place I would want to live or work near. This concept has super convenient food made fast or pre-prepared that is made fresh daily and is healthy.”

Have a little more time on your hands? Shoppers with time to browse can swing by the wine kiosk for real-time advice on perfect pairings, wine ratings and sommelier tips.

Jeff DeHart, another S.J. Collins partner on hand for the unveiling, developed a particular fondness for the Tea-Bot, a robot of sorts where visitors can enter a selection for their favorite tea plus enhancements and wait for it to be ground, brewed and served in minutes. His choice? A green mint tea blend.

“It was entertaining to watch and had a great flavor, too,” said DeHart.

DeHart also enjoyed the store’s wine aisle, which had a selection comparable to other specialty wine stores, he said. He also noted some similarities between this store and stores overseas.

“Years before leading the 365 by Whole Foods Market brand, Jeff Turnas lead the Whole Foods Market initiatives in London,” said DeHart. “His influence can be seen in this 365 Whole Foods Market. It feels much more urban than I expected.”

The sashimi-grade tuna was a big hit for the Silver Lake crowd. And while there is a big emphasis on pre-prepared foods, guests can also pick up bread for dinner or something to grill.

The developer has three upcoming retail centers that will be anchored by 365 by Whole Foods Markets, including North Decatur Square in Georgia and Secor Village and West Market Street Station in Ohio. The team predicts the new brand will be a highly successful model.

“When I think about Akron, Toledo and Decatur, I think this will be a very successful endeavor,” said Garrison. “It’s unique and different. The 365 by Whole Foods concept is a perfect fit for several urban infill and suburban locations we are looking at. They truly hit it out of the park- it’s fantastic.”