The West Loop today welcomed its newest anchor store—a 42,000 square foot Whole Foods at 1 North Halsted. It’s the third of seven new Whole Foods markets scheduled to open in Chicago this year.
It also marks the reopening of the ground level space of Skybridge where Dominick’s was the previous tenant. Premium grocery stores tend to each have common design elements—like Treasure Island’s “we are the world” flag motif. Whole Foods definitely has a brand look and feel unique to groceries. The retrofit for 1 North Halsted required a gut rehab of the ground floor. The ceiling was also raised to create a more open atmosphere.
The Whole Foods West Loop sits on the northern edge of Greektown and there are a number of design influences reflecting the neighborhood.
“We have a team that goes out into the community and looks for design, colors, and influences,” said Allison Phelps of Whole Foods. “We used the Greek flavor in the community. Artopolis is providing local baklava, and we have a lot of Greek influence in the prepared foods. Some of the prepared foods you can only get at the West Loop Whole Foods.”
The Greek flavor of the store is subtle but unmistakable, from the chicken shawarma to a line of vertical ropes that create a seaport element. Look around the store and you’ll see Greek colors, pastel yellows and blues. Fulton Market’s meatpacking legacy is also referenced with design elements, naturally in the butcher section.
Reclaimed wood is used for accents throughout the store, as it is in other Whole Foods locations. The company sources the wood from suppliers in Illinois and Minnesota; most of the wood originated in barns and fences across the Midwest.
Environmental touches carry over to café tables made from compressed recycled denim.
“Our support team loves to find new ways to reuse material,” Phelps said. “They also did a phenomenal job of reflecting the community.”