Cedar Park’s heralded Whole Foods 365 store is the only one of its kind in Central Texas, and now the Austin-based company says it is backing away from the smaller, value-focused concept.
In an internal email to employees, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said that Whole Foods 365 stores were intended to offer less expensive options and a "streamlined shopping experience."
"However, as we have been consistently lowering prices in our core Whole Foods Market stores over the past year, the price distinction between the two brands has become less relevant," Mackey said.
Since Amazon purchased the Austin-based food chain in 2017, the company parted ways with Instacart — the online-based grocery delivery service — and began its own grocery delivery service, and has made a conscious effort to rid the company of the “Whole Paycheck” moniker long attributed to the company’s grocery prices.
"I don't hear Whole Paycheck anymore," said Jim Sud, Whole Foods' executive vice president of growth and business development, noting that it’s one way he measures success of the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon.
In its most recent move, the company said it is converting plans for in-progress 365 stores to full-fledged Whole Foods locations, including a planned location at Plaza Saltillo just east of downtown Austin.
In a sign of what’s to come for Cedar Park’s 365 store, Mackey’s email said that Whole Foods 365 President Jeff Turnas will, "spend the coming weeks ensuring all 365 operations are smoothly transitioned to the respective regions and continue his work leading special projects, including new store format development, until he transitions into a new role within the company."