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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Whole Foods looking for local suppliers, on track to open Nashua store this summer

NASHUA – Whole Foods Market is on schedule to open its new location in Nashua this summer, and the company is looking for local suppliers who are interested in seeing their products on the store shelves.

Whole Foods is hosting a summit June 11 for local food and grocery suppliers. The meeting comes in preparation for the company’s upcoming store opening in Nashua, which will mark its first foray into New Hampshire. ...

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NASHUA – Whole Foods Market is on schedule to open its new location in Nashua this summer, and the company is looking for local suppliers who are interested in seeing their products on the store shelves.

Whole Foods is hosting a summit June 11 for local food and grocery suppliers. The meeting comes in preparation for the company’s upcoming store opening in Nashua, which will mark its first foray into New Hampshire.

“The supplier summit is an opportunity for local businesses, farmers and producers to come meet with our team to find out about becoming our supplier partner and getting their products on our shelves, not just in the Nashua store, but potentially region and even company-wide,” said Heather McCready, public relations manager for Whole Foods in the North Atlantic Region.

The upcoming Whole Foods summit also will be noteworthy because the company anticipates announcing the opening date for its Nashua store at the event. McReady said Whole Foods is still on track to open the store this summer.

The grocery chain is moving into a plaza off the F.E. Everett Turnpike that formerly housed a Market Basket. The space, at 255 Amherst St., became free last year when Market Basket relocated one mile west to a bigger building at Somerset Plaza.

The June 11 Whole Foods summit will take place from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Bektash Shriners Center in Concord, at 189 Pembroke Road.

Space is available for 350 people to attend. Those interested in taking part can reserve a ticket by contacting Annie Laurie, a Whole Foods “local forager,” by email at annie.laurie@wholefoods.com.

The arrival of Whole Foods has long been anticipated, partly because for years, the company has listed Nashua as one of dozens of cities around the country where stores are “in development.”

Renovations are still underway at the building at Turnpike Plaza. As part of that process, a stand-alone Papa Gino’s restaurant in the plaza was demolished several months ago. The pizzeria hopes to reopen in a new retail plaza planned for the other side of Route 101A.

In April, contractors demolished the front of the former Market Basket building. The remaining shell of the roughly 30,000-square-foot store will remain in place as Whole Foods moves in.

Whole Foods was founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, where it’s still headquartered. Its core mission consists of promoting organically grown foods, healthy eating and the “sustainability of our entire ecosystem,” according to company literature.

Whole Foods went public in 1992, and as of September 2012, the chain was operating 322 stores in 39 states, as well as another seven in Canada and six in the United Kingdom.

Whole Foods plans to open its second New Hampshire location in downtown Portsmouth in 2016. The store will be approximately 40,000 square feet and will employ approximately 175 people, according to an announcement last year from the company.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).