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Lake Oswego Whole Foods (and 'friends') plans to open in July

New '365' market on State Street promises big changes inside and out, including room for a couple of local partners


SUBMITTED PHOTO - An artist's rendering of the new 365 by Whole Food Market on State Street shows the new dormer proposed for the store's entrance and full-length windows planned for the front wall.Are Lake Oswego grocery shoppers ready to get hip?

Whole Foods Market plans to do more than just add a few windows and change a few signs when it opens its new 365 by Whole Foods store in downtown Lake Oswego in July. The retailer has announced that it will make room inside the former home of Albertsons on State Street for “friends” that could include a bike shop, a yoga studio — or even a tattoo parlor.

“The space that we’ve leased (for each store) doesn’t necessarily fit exactly with the prototype — typically, there’s a little bit more space than we need,” Whole Foods spokeswoman Natanya Anderson told The Review last week. “So we’ll be carving out a couple of spaces in the store for a program that we have called ‘Friends of 365.’”

Anderson says Whole Foods is open to including just about anything, as long as the guest company’s values match their own.

“Obviously, their company values don’t have to be exactly like Whole Foods, but we want it to make sense to our customers, so they walk in and say, ‘Yeah, of course it fits that this retailer would be inside a 365 store,’” Anderson says.

The partner retailers for Lake Oswego have yet to be determined, but Anderson says the company is hoping to attract local companies with the goal of allowing shoppers to discover vendors that they might have otherwise overlooked.

“We’re certainly looking local, and particularly given how important that is to Lake Oswego and of course to Portland, we really want to honor that function of the community,” says Anderson. “It’s about creating the opportunity for our customers to discover other new retailers that they would enjoy as much as our stores.”

REVIEW PHOTO: GARY M. STEIN - Construction fencing surrounds the former home of Albertsons on State Street in downtown Lake Oswego, where a 365 by Whole Foods Market is tentatively scheduled to open in July.Construction of the new 365 by Whole Foods is already underway, kicking off the latest in a series of rapid changes to the city’s grocery store scene.

Last month, Walmart closed its Neighborhood Market on Jean Way as part of a massive restructuring. The shuttering of 269 stores in the U.S. and abroad affects 16,000 workers, including 64 in Lake Oswego, as the company refocuses on strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets in profitable markets, growing its e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers.

Next week, the Haggen Food & Pharmacy on Boones Ferry Road is expected to go on the auction block. The sale, which includes 33 "core" Haggen stores in Washington and Oregon, was originally planned for January, moved to Feb. 5 and then rescheduled for Feb. 11. It is now scheduled to take place in a New York City law office on Feb. 22, a company spokeswoman says.

At this point, the fate of the Lake Oswego store is unknown. Potential buyers could opt to keep the Haggen brand, company officials have said, but it is also possible that a different grocer could be the high bidder and convert the store to its own brand.

A bankruptcy court hearing to approve the high bidder, which was scheduled to take place on Feb. 17, now will be scheduled for a later date, the company said.

Meanwhile, Anderson says Whole Foods is aiming to open its new store in Lake Oswego in July.

“We’re working with the Lake Oswego design review board to finalize the repairs and updates that we need to do, and to continue to work on the façade with them,” she says. “But the general plan is to start interior construction this month, assuming all the permitting and all those pieces move along as planned.”

Construction fencing already surrounds the 31,150-square-foot building in the Oswego Village shopping center, and crews have begun preliminary work on the roof. The company is still negotiating with the City about changes to the storefront, although the Development Review Commission was scheduled to review many of those alterations Wednesday night.

“I think February will be a really critical month for us in terms of making sure that we get the permits finalized and we begin work on the interior,” Anderson says. “It looks like we’ll also be starting to work on the roof and some of those other pieces.”

Exterior plans call for a new dormer above the entrance on the west side of the building, with a large Whole Foods 365 sign on the front. Additionally, large storefront windows will be added to the front wall and 10-foot-tall sliding glass doors will replace the entrance. A cable system will be added to the building’s west side to soften the façade with climbing Boston ivy and ornamental grasses.

New windows also will be added to the loading area on the building’s south side, along with new LED lighting. Two poles on the north side of the parking lot will be removed, while the rest will be upgraded to LED lighting. The complete design proposal is on the city’s website now at

ci.oswego.or.us/boc_drc/development-review-commission-98.

Senior City Planner Debra Andreades says the DRC will review the permit application using the regular standards for a Lake Oswego redevelopment project, because the changes will affect less than 50 percent of the west façade. That means Whole Foods’ changes don’t trigger the separate standards imposed in the city’s downtown redevelopment district, she said.

The overall concept for the new 365 by Whole Foods stores is to provide more moderately priced products through Whole Foods Market’s cheaper, in-house brand. Market observers say the move is a natural response to other, cheaper retail chains — such as Walmart and Target — that now carry organic products.

In its May 2015 announcement of the 365 by Whole Foods concept, the company promised the new stores would offer a “transparent” and “values-oriented” experience to customers. The company said the new stores will feature a “modern, streamlined design” and have a smaller, neighborhood feel. It was also clear about the new brand’s target demographic: “millennial shoppers,” saying the new stores will have “technology woven in.”

The stores’ name is a nod to the “365 Everyday Value” house brand already sold by the grocery chain. Those products will anchor the stores, although officials said shelves will be stocked with other items, including national brands.

“For 365, what we’re really trying to do is make it easy for people to eat healthy in whatever way that means to them,” Anderson told The Review last week, “at a price that seems reasonable and with a high level of convenience.”

The Lake Oswego store will be the second to open under the new 365 by Whole Foods brand. The first store, located in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, will open in May. A third store is scheduled to open in Bellevue, Wash., in August, and Whole Foods has plans to open another 10 stores in various locations throughout the U.S. in 2017.

“We (will) open our first store in Silver Lake in May, and then we’ll turn right around and really start to put a lot of focus on finishing out the store and opening in Lake Oswego,” Anderson says. “Momentum is really building, which is exciting.”

Anderson says Whole Foods picked Lake Oswego as a test market because it seemed like a good match in terms of the preferences and attitudes of the shoppers the chain hopes to reach with the new brand.

“There are a lot of folks there who lead very busy lives but at the same time value good food at an affordable price,” Anderson says. “Given the demographics of the area, it just seemed like a really natural fit for us in terms of what’s important for the community and what we hope to bring to the community.”

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or amacuk@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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