Get To Know Local Grocery Store: Whole Foods Co-op

All this cold weather has us thinking back to the day we went to Clover Valley Farms with some of the staff from Whole Foods Co-op and Mad Chicken Studio! Fresh and local produce is so important to our community and we are thankful to have this awesome business in our community (now with two locations)!

Your name: Allison Heitmiller, Ali Wade, & Jennifer Gilbertson (WFC Brand Team)

Business name and locations: Whole Foods Co-op now at 2 locations: Hillside 610 E 4th Street and Denfeld 4426 Grand Ave

Years in business: 46

How/When did you get started?

In 1970 twenty passionate Duluthians formed the Whole Foods Buying Club as a way to eat whole foods when grocery stores did not provide them. The founders drove to Minneapolis in their 1958 Buick and purchased large bags of oats, rice, and other staples to be stored in the basement of their house. They had no business plan, just a coffee can that members would place money into when they went “shopping”. When the word got out, the business grew and eventually became a thriving community-owner grocery store!

Why did you choose Duluth?

The Whole Foods Buying Club was founded in Duluth and our business organically grew from there. Our consumer-owned cooperative moved to multiple locations around Duluth as our business grew, and now we are located in both the Hillside and Denfeld neighborhoods with a two store operation and nearly 10,000 owners!

What is one thing your business is primarily known for?

Our insanely delicious from-scratch deli food.

What is your favorite thing about Duluth?

We love the people and community. WFC is founded on supporting, investing and partnering to create a healthy community including, but not limited to, a healthy regional food system.

What do you think about the current Duluth economy?

It becomes stronger with each new locally founded and run business. We believe that supporting these passionate local farmers, producers, and businesses is a great way to build Duluth’s economy.

What would be your advice to someone thinking about opening a new business in Duluth?
To find strength in and partner with the many passionate business owners in Duluth whenever possible. We are all stronger together!

A couple other fun facts about you:
Favorite place to eat in Duluth: Do we have to choose just one? Zeitgeist Arts Café is always delicious, plus WFC Owners get 10% off all food and drinks when they show their Owner card!

Favorite local business in Duluth (besides your own!): Bent Paddle Brewing Co. (try their creative infusions!)

Favorite Duluth “hidden gem”: Zenith Bread Project donuts at Duluth Coffee Company. You’ve gotta get there early to try one for yourself!