Whole Foods Market opens at last

The long-awaited opening of Whole Foods Market in Irving took place on Tuesday, Sept. 26, where customers were invited to a soft opening of the new location.

Ten percent of all sales on Tuesday will benefit Irving Cares, a local nonprofit for those in need. The main opening of the Irving Whole Foods Market followed on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Construction of the 43,000 square foot building was completed over a year ago and first announced in 2014. It was initially rumored the store would open as early as last fall.

Once inside, customers were treated to free samples including shrimp, sushi, pizza, crackers with melted cheese, and chocolate chunk cookies.

Longtime Irving resident Elena Blake likes the quality and variety of Whole Foods products, as well as its knowledgeable staff.

“I love the market and its high-end products, especially the meats, sausages, and cheeses. Plus, the salespeople really know their products,” Blake said.

Whole Foods Global PR representative Melissa Kubrin, who was on hand at the opening to answer any questions from customers, explained that the delayed opening involved many layers.

“Different stores have various timelines, based on different factors,” Kubrin said. “The Irving store is opening now so it will be open before the holidays.”

This summer, it was announced that Amazon had bought the company. Kubrin pointed out that Amazon-influenced pricing can be seen on specific products, including the location’s avocados.

“Bulk pricing is very important to the Whole Foods customer, allowing them to take as little or as much as needed, without having leftovers that might go wasted,” Kubrin said. 

The store offers a number of places to eat. There is seating for 200 both inside and outside, and in one seating area, a band played to entertain shoppers. 

A combination of new staff and existing Whole Foods employees will staff the location, including 100 new employees from the North Texas area and 30 from different Whole Foods locations. Each new staff member had to pass group as well as individual interviews to be hired.

Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer and City Council member Oscar Ward were in attendance. Teddie Story of Irving Cares manned a table in one area to promote Irving Cares.

“Food overages experienced by the Irving Whole Foods Market, like a few other local stores, would be directed to Irving Cares,” Story said.

The store is located at the southwest corner of MacArthur Boulevard and State Highway 161. Whole Foods has more than 30 stores in Texas and many more across the country. There are also stores in Canada and the United Kingdom. Its flagship store is still based in Austin, where the company was founded in 1980.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.