Three locations express individuality
[caption id="attachment_28007" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Front of the Coddingtown store in Santa Rosa (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_28008" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Coddingtown store hot foods bar showing the clerestory (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
NORTH BAY -- Whole Foods Market takes a location-specific approach to design and product selection, reflected in the farmer's market, train depot and craft-brew pub features of three new North Bay locations this year.
The Austin, Texas-based chain of natural foods grocery stores studies what a community wants and existing architecture and culture in designing a store, according to R. Adam Smith, executive coordinator of design and construction for Northern California and Reno.
“We don’t build a cookie-cutter store,” he said. “It has proven helpful in getting design approval in some cases. In some cases, it has the potential to make it more difficult.”
[caption id="attachment_28006" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="The Coddingtown store's Tap Room (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
Such an approach may please local planning commissions and elected officials, but store elements such as full-scale restaurant kitchens and bakeries could be new elements for plan checkers and health inspectors. Examples include a full-size bakery unusually located in the middle of the sales floor near the entrance of the Novato store and a rough-framed craft brew pub on the floor of the Coddingtown store in Santa Rosa.
[caption id="attachment_28009" align="alignright" width="150" caption="A selection of prepared foods in the Coddingtown store (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
Another curve ball can be design changes late in the design process, which Mr. Smith likes to add as close to the opening date as possible because of rapid changes in the retail environment. In recent years, the company has been hiring a "store advocate" in a target community to gather local consumer feedback that is incorporated into the design before construction begins, according to Mr. Smith.
Publicly traded Whole Foods is No. 284 on the Fortune 500 list of companies with $9 billion in sales in fiscal 2010. Stores open a year had average sales of $642 a square foot at the end of the fiscal fourth quarter.
Coddingtown, Santa Rosa390 Coddingtown Mall, Santa Rosa
Property owners: Codding Enterprises, Rohnert Park, and Simon Property Group, Chicago
Description: Renovation of a former Ralphs grocery store space in a regional shopping mall into a 50,000-square-foot store with an interior craft beer pub
Completion: September 2010
Contractors: general -- Sutti & Associates, Burlingame; millwork -- Wood Shanti Cooperative, San Francisco
Architecture and design: construction documents -- Field Paoli, San Francisco; structure -- Studio Gee Architects; interiors -- CDS, Tualatin, Ore.
Engineering: mechanical, electrical and plumbing -- DC Engineering, Meridian, Idaho; structural -- KPW, Oakland
The most recent Whole Foods store to open in the North Bay is a 50,000-square-foot co-anchor for the Coddingtown regional shopping mall in west Santa Rosa. Mall owners Codding Enterprises and Simon Property Group had the shell of the former Ralphs grocery store space overhauled and expanded to Whole Foods' specifications a year and a half before tenant improvements started in February of this year. The store opened Sept. 22.