Best new business

June 14, 2013 

Produce department at the much-anticipated Whole Foods Market in Boise.



401 S. Broadway St., Boise, 287-4600

The stream of Downtown workers braving five lanes of Front Street at lunch time proves that Whole Foods Market is a phenomenon.

Some customers visit the store five or six times a week. Whole Foods opened in November on Downtown's eastern edge, challenging the Boise Co-op for natural-foods supremacy.

The $7.99-per-pound food bar is the most popular feature, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's next to the coffee bar, which is next to the sushi bar. A bakery selling $4 and $5 boules (that's "bool," French for ball) is a few more steps to the left. Upstairs is the River Room, a slider-and-pizza restaurant with beer, wine and a Foothills view.

Store Team Leader Bruce Green says the average customer spends $30 per visit. He won't disclose revenues, but it's a safe bet they will top $25 million the first year.

The market employs about 200 workers; about 120 are full-time. Five of every six were hired locally.

Parking spaces were hard to find at first, but the store recently added 75 on the Myrtle Street side. They might be replaced someday with more stores and a parking garage.

Whole Foods supports dozens of local charities. Says Green: "We're working hard to be good community partners as well as a successful business."


• Big Al's (entertainment center), 1900 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, 780-6118,

• Nordstrom Rack (clothing), 534 N. Milwaukee St., Boise, 321-4040,

• My Fit Foods Idaho (healthy food), multiple locations (closed)

• Bleubird (restaurant), 224 N. 10th St., Boise, 345-1055,

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