By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
SILVER LAKE — They lined up at the coffee bar and took photos of the teaBOT. They shopped for sushi and heirloom tomatoes while listening to a DJ play classic Jackson 5. Welcome to Whole Foods’ first new 365 market, which opened its doors this morning in Silver Lake with promises of low prices, high-tech convenience and a hip, warehouse-store ambiance designed to appeal to a new generation of kale and Kombucha-loving customers.
The new store, a former Ralphs on Glendale Boulevard, won praise from several customers interviewed this morning. Shoppers said it appeared that prices were lower than at a typical Whole Foods. They found the store easy to maneuver around and did not miss the full-service meat, cheese and other departments of a traditional market.
“I spent less than $20 and I got a bag full of stuff,” said 30-year-old Erin Bond. “That’s a third of what you spend at a Whole Foods. I like that they are using new technology. It’s a cool updated version [of] a grocery store.”
In contrast to the traditional Whole Foods, with its full-service departments and flashy presentation of produce and other merchandise, 365 seems a bit bare bones. Produce, for example, is displayed in the cardboard packing boxes, and wine bottles stand on warehouse-like metal racks. But that was okay for many folks this morning.
“I rarely go to Whole Foods because it’s so expensive, so I’m not really missing anything,” said Carlin Davis, a 24-year-old shopper from Echo Park, who was pleased to see a sushi section. “We usually go to either Trader Joe’s or Vons. But I’m pretty sure we will come here a lot more frequently.”
“It fits today’s lifestyle,” said Katherine Wellington, who was in Los Angeles on a business trip when she decided to visit the new market. “It was a fun experience. The question is what it will be like two months from now?”
Jacqueline Fernandez is a Los Angeles-based reporter who’s written for various media outlets such as Los Angeles Wave, The Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News.
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