Buyers and store managers from Whole Foods Market, which has 10 North Bay stores, plan to meet potential new vendors for Northern California and Reno, Nev., stores via an event in Oakland in early February.

Applications to participate in the Texas-based natural foods grocery chain's "Next Entrepreneur" event at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center on Feb. 6 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. are due by Jan. 14 ( 

At the event, the company intends to teach vendors how to grow their businesses, provide key contacts for packaging; loans, including the Whole Foods Market Local Loan Program; production; and distribution.

"As Whole Foods continues to open new stores in Northern California, we are also foraging for new local food entrepreneurs! We're looking for unique local products and entrepreneurs that want to grow with us," said Harvindar Singh, one of Whole Foods Market's "local foragers."