Embed from Getty ImagesWell, at least from my point of view. Ever since moving into my new neighbourhood this past summer, I have become acquainted with my local Whole Foods store. They are located about 3 minutes from my front door – and the best place for a girl (and her baby) to relax, cruise around, and pick up some bits and bites. I make it my regular Java Haunt for sure, as the prices are excellent (for coffee :0) and the atmosphere is as warm as can be. There is never a shortage of events, specials, good food…and celebrity endorsements clustering in the mass media. Whether it’s a celebrity chef’s in-store appearance, an advocate in the form of an A-lister, or a product mention in a celebrity diet, Whole Foods is always on topic.

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WholeFoods has no shortage of celebrity endorsements…

Not to mention the solid gold trend factor that every celebrity worth their weight in (sea) salt has been snapped shopping there…

Believe it or not, but none of this actually mattered to me going into their stores. What did matter, was the general feeling you get the minute you step into one…particularly the one in my dear old neighbourhood. I felt an ambience, and still do, that I have not felt anywhere else…not even the shopping mall! I simply love Whole Foods – all of my daughters snacks come from there…along with some of mine and I cannot resist their lunch and dinner offerings. I quite often make the investment into their hot bar and am never left disappointed. In fact, I am left quite satiated and usually do not need to eat anything substantial after ward. I think it has something to do with the hypo glycemic index of their ingredients? Or is it the kilojoules that are existent in the food itself? I am not really sure, all I know is that their meals provide me with lots of energy and fulfilment for the rest of the day! And, no I am not being paid to say this! This is truly my honest opinion of the place I have now come to call my second home. I don’t spend a fortune there either – chalk that up to my frugal savvy if you will.

As many are aware, Whole Foods is a huge advocate of their local communities and the environment, along with global charities to better the sustainment of communities around the world. The Whole Planet foundation, was designed to alleviate poverty in micro communities around the world through teaching people to fish, so to speak. They also help out communities in North America, when not hosting a Grammy pre-party, through fundraisers. And that extends all the way to their very own staff (see below)…

Jacqueline, and art student who works at the  Unionville store part time, will have her paintings submitted to an upcoming Whole Planet fundraiser
Jacqueline, an art student who works at the Unionville store part time, will have her paintings submitted to an upcoming Whole Planet fundraiser
Associate Team Leader, Siobhan Bannon was one of 350 staff worldwide chosen to attend the Future Search seminar in Austin, Texas
Associate Customer Service Team Leader, Siobhan Bannon was one of 350 staff worldwide chosen to attend the Future Search seminar in Austin, Texas

I was lucky enough to sit down with the Unionville Store’s Marketing Specialist, Christina Dallimore, to find out a bit more about how she manages to pull together all of their amazing events and community building efforts.

HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR EVENTS WITH CUSTOMERS?

We communicate with our customers through in-store signage, events calendars, e-newsletters, our store website, social media channels and post event posters at partnered community locations.

Customer Service Supervisor, Denise Althea Dunbar
Customer Service Supervisor, Denise Dunbar, showcasing the in-store computerized customer feedback station

DO YOU EVER PARTNER WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY ON YOUR EVENTS?

Yes, we do! This past summer we partnered with The Unionville BIA & Moksha Yoga Markham to offer the community complimentary yoga and beverages every Sunday.

The Whole Foods company website is amazing and does a great job of keeping your customers up to date on all of your products, campaigns and activities in general. Do you also tap into social media to connect with customers?

We love to go out into the community and show our support. Social media has proven to be another way we can connect with our shoppers on a personal level. With our hyper-local social media approach, each store can connect with customers and tailor content that specifically represents and is relevant to their community. We can have two way conversations with them even when they aren’t shopping in our stores.

HOW IMPORTANT WOULD YOU SAY SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO THE EXECUTION OF YOUR CAMPAIGNS?

Social media is a vital component in our campaigns. With our local social media approach, we are able to support store, regional and company-wide programs to reflect each community in a more meaningful way. We are able to have one-on-one conversations with our shoppers about the different seasonal programs we offer. And we are able to see and hear their responses to the campaigns, which can alter how we launch future campaigns.

WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE SPRING?

This spring we are excited to bring some fresh and vibrant content and conversations to our digital channels; including Beauty Week and a Share the Buzz campaign, bringing awareness to our favourite pollinators!

So, you’ve seen them in the media. You’ve heard about them around the water cooler, from your workmates…and now you’re hearing it from me. Whether you are a well to do saint with money to burn, or a simple new Mom (like myself), there is always a place for you at Whole Foods. And the friendly faces keep me coming back…

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“We are grocers with a purpose and our team members are committed to satisfying and delighting each and every customer each and every time they shop with us” William Nadeau, Associate Store Team Leader, Unionville (MKM)
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