Hoping to be a new destination for the weekly grocery shopping of Schaumburg residents as well as the lunch hours of the area's many workers, a 58,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market will open Wednesday morning between Woodfield Shopping Center and Streets of Woodfield.
The store is the next-door neighbor of the 26,200-square-foot Crate & Barrel that opened in February at the southwest corner of Woodfield and Martingale roads.
Schaumburg's Whole Foods Market is slightly larger than the company's typical stores and is using the extra space to experiment with some new concepts designed to make it even more attractive to the public, spokeswoman Kate Klotz said.
The most noticeable of these are among the prepared foods venue called "Eats Schaumburg" which caters specifically to the pop-in crowd.
There is a diner featuring all-natural grass-fed burgers, hot dogs, salads, malts and milkshakes. It's next to both a sushi counter and a sandwich shop featuring sandwiches named for area locales like "The Woodfield," "The Streets," "The Schaumburg" and "The Village."
This area also includes a salad bar and a hot food bar with a daily changing ethnic focus.
Adjacent to this is The Bar, which boasts a restaurant-style liquor license allowing it to serve coffee by day and beer and wine in the afternoon and evening.
A "Sweets & Treats" area serves up ice cream, cakes and cookies, and the store is introducing a new make-your-own cupcake or cookie program with snacks baked to your design.
The Schaumburg location will also have a produce-buying office right out in the open where customers can ask questions.
Whole Foods Market's overall mission of delivering healthy, environmentally-friendly food is carried over into the design of the new store, Associate Store Team Leader Gretchen Swanstrom said.
The store is designed not only to be a welcoming environment but to be energy efficient in its use of heating and cooling, Swanstrom said. Recycled wood is used as a decorative building material for the walls and the floors are able to be cleaned without the use of chemicals.
The Schaumburg store also introduces a trail mix bar with a wide variety of choices sold in bulk, and a Whole Baby department in which all baby products are gathered together in one area.
Swanstrom concedes that there is a strong public perception of Whole Foods Market as being pricey. But while there are some unique products that do cost more, the economic downturn encouraged greater promotion of the fact that many different price levels are available at the store, she said.
There are 436 parking spaces at the new store including 114 heated ones underground.
Klotz said Whole Foods Market is already a dedicated member of the community, doing such things as donating its unused bread each day to local food pantries as well as being the official food provider for the Schaumburg Flyers baseball players and the teams they'll face at Alexian Field in 2010.