ENGLEWOOD — Employees of the new Whole Foods Market in Englewood said they are eager for the store to open, with one saying the store is "a long time coming" and another calling it "mind-blowing."
The retail chain opens in Englewood on Sept. 28.
Over the weekend, employees met some of the new vendors whose products they will sell in the store. They were able to ask them questions and sample the products. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman met them and toured the facility.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan tour the new Whole Foods Market in Englewood with the store's regional Midwest Vice President David Schwartz.
Englewood resident Marcus Ross learned that Whole Foods was hiring through a local job fair this summer.
“I’m excited for the community, and I just think it’s a good look for Englewood,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, and we need something healthy on the South Side.”
Ross said Englewood is on the rise, and he believes the store can help stop the violence because the employer is investing in the community, bringing jobs and drawing other economic development.
Local vendor Rachel Bernier-Green of Laine's bake shop distributes free samples while mingling with community residents and employees of the new Whole Foods.
Alexis Solomon, another worker from Englewood, said that she hopes more people from the community will make healthier food choices once Whole Foods opens.
“People in Englewood spend money,” Solomon said. “They spend money on unnecessary things and buy a bunch of junk, so if they can do that, I’m pretty sure they can take their time and give Whole Foods a try."
Solomon is a culinary arts student at Kennedy-King College. Her job at the store is in food prep, which she said is “right up my alley.”
Store employee Trey Brown, of Englewood, will work in the meat department when the store opens.
Store employee Trey Brown, of Englewood, worked in the South Loop store for 16 months. He said he’s looking forward to serving his community.
“This store would be great for any community, but for Englewood, it’s mind-blowing,” Brown said.
Brown will work in the meat department.
“I can tell you what my chicken ate and what farm it was on,” Brown said. “We know our product, and I want to be the one to serve our first customer. I want to educate that customer.”
Whole Foods officials said that when the store opens next week, there will be more than 100 employees, including about 35 who live in Englewood, while others live nearby.
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