ENGLEWOOD —Grocery shopping has gotten a little more fun in Englewood recently.
The “5 After 5” event at Englewood’s Whole Foods, 832 W. 63rd St., combines wine tasting with live music.
Lamar Harvey, the store’s specialty team leader, and Erik Jones, curator at The Blue Sapphire Experience, a production and media company, are collaborating to put on the series. The live music is presented by Sound Voyage.
It’s common for Whole Foods to host wine tasting events at its stores, but when Harvey accepted his promotion from specialty team member to team leader, he said he wanted to give customers something more.
Customers can come to the Friday evening events and learn what foods to pair with wines. To spice up the experience, the store added live music over the summer, Harvey said.
“We’re giving you something different,” he said. “This creates a safe environment where we get the community to interact with each other and it’s like a party in a grocery store.”
Before joining the team at Whole Foods when it opened last September, Harvey was a manager at Pier 1 Imports. He said he wanted to work and live in Englewood so immediately applied when he saw the job opening.
And because he loves to cook, and works as a private chef on the side, the Friday evening event is a lot of fun for him, he said.
“I do different themes so I might do a Cajun night or a Caribbean night,” he said. “There are millions of wines you can pair with different foods and that’s where my part comes in, to educate them on the different wines we have here.”
He said the store has turned into a community hub for everyone.
“You can come in and see your fellow neighbor, your coworker, schoolmate and it creates a safe and comfortable environment,” Harvey said.
The live music at Whole Foods first launched June 2 and initially it was supposed to run through the summer months, Jones said.
The response was so positive that Jones said he was told he could continue it through the fall.
“I’m trying to bring arts and live entertainment to Englewood because there’s really no major places, besides maybe some lounges, that you can go see a live band,” he said.
The next event is Friday at the store from 5- 7:30 p.m. The event itself is free, but the wine tasting portion is $5. The band Park N Ride will perform.