Whole Foods Is Here! [GALLERY]

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TALLAHASSEE, FL - Folks in the Big Bend have been anticipating the opening of Whole Foods Market in Tallahassee for a while now. It was pretty obvious by the length of the line Wednesday morning.

"I got up a little later than I planned to get up this morning, I got up around 7 o'clock and rushed over," said James Norman.

The opening marked the 20th store in Florida and the 364th Whole Foods nationwide. They didn't skimp on the promotions, either. customers were treated to a complimentary breakfast at 8 a.m. and the first 500 shoppers got goody bags.

Instead of a ribbon cutting, store representatives and local commissioners broke a loaf of bread to open up.

Florida State alum Micahel Muscat is the store's team leader. Whole Foods Market is responsible for about 200 new jobs with a majority of new hires from the Big Bend area.

"We also have that community involvement and the ties to the community that really tie everything together to make us much larger," said Muscat.

Besides the home grown jobs, the chain also donates five percent of their opening day proceeds to a local organization. Boys Town Tallahassee, a center for endangered youths, will benefit from the hundreds of shoppers on Wednesday.

Besides all the new bells and whistles, the organic food giant tried to stick to the city's roots.

"Back in the day, there was a movie theater called the M5, so this a real special piece of property that we chose here. There's a lot of history here with the M5, and we even have parts of our store that are named after the Miracle 5," said Muscat.

Whole Foods in Tallahassee opens at 9 am, and the line is stretched around the new plaza.

Stay with WCTV for the latest on the festivities.

Press Release: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is officially about to call Tallahassee home. This Wednesday, Oct. 9, marks the Grand Opening of the new store and the 20th location in Florida.

The festivities begin at 8 a.m. with a free continental breakfast in the parking lot, and the entire community is invited to attend. The Leon Steel Band will be on-site providing entertainment during the morning, and Tallahassee’s own Florida State University Cheerleaders will be here to pump everyone up for the Grand Opening.

At approximately 8:45 a.m., representatives from Whole Foods Market, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, city and government officials and others will take part in the Bread Breaking Ceremony, which will feature a 7-foot loaf of bread. Following brief statements and the ceremony, Whole Foods Market Tallahassee will officially open at approximately 9 a.m.

The first 500 shoppers will receive a Whole Foods Market reusable bag filled with goodies at checkout.

Whole Foods Market Tallahassee will also be donating 5 percent of opening day net sales to Boys Town of Tallahassee.

In addition to opening day, the store will feature Grand Opening events throughout the week.

Press Release: Whole Foods Market

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Whole Foods Market Tallahassee will officially open its doors to the public.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with a free continental breakfast in the parking lot, followed by the store opening at 9 a.m. The first 500 shoppers will receive free Whole Foods Market goodie bags.

Whole Foods Market Tallahassee will donate 5 percent of net sales from the opening day to a local nonprofit organization as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the community.

Complete details, including unique store features, are in the press release below. Please contact me if you have any questions.

UPDATE: Lanetra Bennett, 11-3-11

The closing of the decades-old Miracle 5 Theater in Tallahassee was a huge blow to the community.

But, sadness has turned to joy as a new multi-million dollar development promises to revitalize the community and the economy.

The Director of City of Tallahassee Growth Management, Karen Jumonville, says, "A lot of people who move in to the community often asks, why don't we have a Whole Foods here?"

There will be one.

A Whole Foods Market, Inc. will be built where the Miracle Plaza is off Thomasville Road in Tallahassee.

The Miracle 5 Theater and the existing structure will be demolished.

Whole Foods will be a part of a 75,000 square foot shopping center.

Developers say the $20 million project will bring an estimated 250 new jobs; 120 of those will come from Whole Foods.

Mayor John Marks says, "It really will make this community a lot better community."

City administrators say the new center have an urban feel with buildings sprinkled throughout the area, instead of a typical plaza with a sea of parking in the front.

A fresh market will be at the entrance to make the center even more inviting. plaza.

Jumonville says, "They'll be an outdoor seating area, in which people can get some prepared foods and sit and picnic and that sort of thing. So, it really helps to further a lot of the city's goals."

Those goals include revitalizing the entire area.

Mayor Marks says, "That's what we're trying to do in the Midtown area, create a sense of place for people to gather; for people to shop; for people to live."

Administrators say the model will be used to attract new businesses to the community in the future.

Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2012, and the shopping center and Whole Foods are expected to open in 2013.

Press Release: City of Tallahassee

Whole Foods Market Inc. announced that it will be opening a store in the Miracle Plaza Shopping Center in the summer of 2013. The City of Tallahassee’s Growth Management Department and the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Departments have been working with the developer, SJ Collins Enterprises LLC of Atlanta, to bring the development to Tallahassee. Jeff Garrison, a partner with SJ Collins, will be available on site to meet with the media at 11 a.m. today.

“This will further enhance the Midtown sense of place and give this vibrant community a neighborhood grocery store,” said Mayor John Marks, who also serves as the lead commissioner for the Economic Development Target Issue Committee. “The City’s Growth Management and Planning departments have been and will continue to be proactive proponents to see this development from concept to reality. Additionally, I’m excited to have another grocery retailer in Tallahassee whose mission is in line with many of our community goals for living a healthier lifestyle.”

The store will be part of a larger redevelopment of the entire shopping center and will serve as the anchor store. Current plans call for construction to begin this coming spring.

"Once we received the initial inquiry about the possibility of Whole Foods locating in Tallahassee, we pulled together Growth Management's new Customer Service Team and key Planning Department staff to work with the developer on the proposed site design,” said Karen Jumonville, Director of the City's Growth Management Department. “Within a matter of days, we had a conceptual site plan that both the City and the developer were happy with."

"From the time of our initial inquiry, the City's permitting team has been incredibly helpful and responsive. The clear message we received from day one was that the City wants our development and they were willing to pull together teams to make it happen in record time,” Garrison said. “We came in with a sketch as a starting point for discussions, and within a matter of days of the initial discussions, the City's permitting team had a site plan that better met the City's goals as well as the design goals for Whole Foods before we even entered the formal permitting process."

The site is located in the new Multi-Modal Transportation District (MMTD), which was adopted in an effort to improve urban design, increase bicycle and pedestrian mobility, and promote in-town amenities and destinations.

“The proposed redevelopment will enhance bicycle and pedestrian mobility in the area by providing a needed service in an in-town location that is easily accessible to several neighborhoods,” said Zach Galloway, Senior Planner with the Tallahassee-Leon Community Planning Department. “This redevelopment is building on the momentum created by the Midtown merchants and the City during the Sense of Place initiative, which envisioned a bustling pedestrian district that stretched up Thomasville Road to this site.”

Whole Foods Market Inc. is an Austin, Texas, based company. It is the world’s leader in natural and organic foods with more than 310 stores in North America and the United Kingdom.

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