Jackson’s new Whole Foods Market is a work in progress that will continue to evolve over the next month.
Whole Foods purchased Jackson Whole Grocer last month and, according to store team leader Clay Carter, is still in the beginning phases of a “pretty large transition.”
The job of sourcing and getting its product assortment correct and in line with Whole Food standards is substantial, said Carter, who comes to Jackson from the Whole Foods Market in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition, he said, some “major reflows” at the store at 1155 S. Highway 89 are planned.
In short, what customers are seeing now is not what they should expect in the future.
“By the end of April, customers can expect a Whole Foods Market experience,” Carter said.
One feature that will stay is the cafe seating area in the front of the store, a popular place for people to have lunch, though the decor will change a bit.
“It’s really important for us to provide that community feel and provide a place for people to enjoy a meal,” Carter said.
The produce department, the seafood area and the coffee bar will all be updated. The coffee bar will more than likely be an Allegro Coffee operation, Carter said, but “all options are on the table.”
Allegro started in Boulder, Colorado, in 1977, and later was among the first in the country to offer certified organic coffee. It’s now a subsidiary of Whole Foods Market.
Community relations and partnerships, especially with local suppliers, are important to Whole Foods Market in Jackson, Carter said.
A “dedicated team of local foragers” is looking for and sourcing local and regional suppliers. Items produced or grown in Wyoming are top priority, but the store is also reaching out to Idaho and Montana.
“All of the local products have to meet our quality standards in order to be sold in our store,” Carter said.
The Whole Foods Market website has a page, TinyURL.com/57897pmm, that details those quality standards, which include humane living conditions for egg-laying hens, verification of non-GMO label claims, and long lists of banned ingredients in home cleaning, beauty and body care products.
He declined to get into specifics about local products sold at Whole Grocer that will not be seen on Whole Foods’ shelves in Jackson. Among the local and regional suppliers that will be there are Vertical Harvest (produce), Cowboy Coffee, Holly Sage stickers, Snake River Roasting Company (coffee), Snowy Elk Coffee Co. (based in Cheyenne), Teatonic Kombucha, Enchantment Creek (supplements and body care), Wild By Nature (greeting cards), Rossetti Designs (greeting cards), Meno Clinic (supplements), Bovine & Swine (craft sausage), Noso Patches, Lockhart Cattle Co. (beef)) and Haderlie Farms. The list is growing.
Whole Foods will employ 100 to 150 full- and part-time workers. Carter declined to say how many former Whole Grocer employees are employed. All eligible team members who applied for their current roles were offered positions, he said.
Carter said he and the staff welcome feedback about the store: “We want to make it unique to the culture of Jackson and local team members.”
The Jackson store has a website at WholeFoodsMarket.com/stores/jacksonwyoming.
As the store makes a transition so will the Carter family. Carter and his wife, Ali, both from Colorado, have two daughters, Piper, 7, and Presley, 4. The girls have been figure skaters since the age of 3.
Carter said the family is “ready to jump in” to Jackson Hole life.
“We are really excited about embracing the community and being able to raise our family in that environment.”