Whole Foods Market opens store in Union Sq.

Whole Foods Market will open its new store at 40 E. 14th St. on Wed., March 16. The new Union Sq. location, Whole Foods Market’s third in Manhattan, will feature a second-floor cafe overlooking Union Sq. Park, a juice bar, restaurant-quality prepared foods, all-natural meats, seafood and a bakery. The upscale grocery store will have over 48,000 sq. ft. of space on three floors. The building formerly housed Bradlees, May’s and Ohrbach’s department stores.

On March 14, Whole Foods presented an “Almost-Open Party,” proceeds of which will benefit neighborhood initiatives of the Union Sq. Partnership, including the campaign to renovate the north end of Union Sq. Park and Union Sq.’s north plaza.

On March 30, Whole Foods Market will host a 5% Day to benefit Union Sq.’s Greenmarket, donating 5 percent of store sales to the Greenmarket. Angela Rakis, a Whole Foods spokesperson, said the stores typically have four 5% Days a year and that individual stores decide who gets the proceeds. She said it’s likely that in the future one 5% Day a year might be for the Greenmarket. There are also six Add-On Days per year when shoppers can buy register coupons for designated organizations.

According to the Partnership, formerly the 14th St.-Union Sq. Business Improvement District, Whole Foods is actively working to collaborate with local universities, theaters and merchants.

“We’ve just been eagerly awaiting it since we heard Whole Foods was going to be a tenant in the building,” said Karen Shaw, Partnership executive director. “They’re a terrific market and company and they’ve made every effort to be a part of the community. It will enhance Union Sq. as a destination point and place for people interested in good food. The area around will benefit — even the Greenmarket. It just creates more traffic for everybody.”

Shaw said the area’s student and residential populations are growing, noting that commercial buildings on Park Ave. S. are being converted to condominiums.

“They’ve got to find somewhere to shop,” she noted.

Shaw said attendees at Monday night’s party paid $20 admission and that Whole Foods planned to match the raised amount up to $50,000.

A 78,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market is planned on E. Houston St. at the Bowery in the new Avalon Bay building. Rakis said this store should open about the same time next year.

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