Whole Foods’ 180 on Eastside Redevelopment
“Full-line” store, not now-jettisoned value brand, to take spot at Plaza Saltillo
With last week's news that Whole Foods Market would open no more of its smaller, more affordable 365 stores, plans for Plaza Saltillo were thrown into question. The major East Austin redevelopment, spanning the Capital Metro railyard along Fourth and Fifth streets from I-35 to Comal, was expected to welcome a 365 store later this year, the first full-service grocer to serve the inner Eastside in decades. Instead, according to Jason Thumlert, principal at Saltillo master developer Endeavor Real Estate Group, the grocer is "committed to opening a full-line Whole Foods Market at Saltillo" in the same 30,000-square-foot space; Endeavor, he said, "remains excited to bring a grocery store to the community." On Friday, Jan. 11, Yahoo Finance reported that WFM would drop the 365 concept but keep open the 12 existing stores, including one in Cedar Park. The stores, named for Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value store-brand products, were aimed at millennials looking for affordable food options; but since Amazon purchased WFM in 2017, prices have been routinely trending downward at "core Whole Foods Market stores," CEO John Mackey reportedly wrote in an internal email, making a separate value brand "less relevant." Yahoo Finance received a press statement noting that the store has incorporated "learnings and innovations from 365," so not all is lost.