Mike Dematteo works in the produce department at Whole Foods in Orland Park preparing for the store's opening on Nov. 2. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:09PM
That Whole Foods operates a little differently from most grocers will be demonstrated when it opens the doors of its Orland Park store Friday.
While most retailers are content to snip a ribbon, the company known for carrying organic and natural foods instead will hold a bread-breaking ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
The store will open to customers at 9 a.m., but normal operating hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Along with labels identifying the nutritional value of foods, store shelves carry information about sources of food and how environmentally friendly products and their suppliers are.
The Texas-based company has built a following by offering products free of pesticides and artificial ingredients and screening vendors for their Earth-friendly practices.
The company likes to use the term “food transparency,” said Kate Klotz, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods.
“Over the last 10 years or so, so many more people want to know their food is safe,” she said.
At 15260 LaGrange Road, in a former Borders bookstore, the Orland Park store will be Whole Foods’ first Southland location and its 18th store in the Chicago market.
Orland Park officials see Whole Foods as adding to the village’s selection of niche retailers that have only a few stores in the Chicago region and can draw customers from a wider area.
Whole Foods is in Ravinia Plaza, where other tenants include Chipotle Mexican Grill, James & Sons Jewelry, Panera Bread and Pier 1 Imports.
The idea of recycling and repurposing items is carried through much of the store. Discarded cabinet fronts were used to create a company time line above the store’s dairy section, which stocks goat milk and flax milk. Bricks around the pizza ovens were reclaimed from a demolished building in Chicago, Klotz said.
The store will also sell package beer, wine and distilled spirits and a selection of prepared foods. A “hot bar” will offer items such as kielbasa with caramelized onions or grass-fed beef-braised pot roast, and there’s a soup and salad bar as well.
“We expect to do a brisk (carry-out) lunch business,” Klotz said.