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June 12. 2014 9:32PM

State's first Whole Foods to open in August

NASHUA — Fans of organic and natural groceries now have a firm date to look forward to: The first Whole Foods Market in New Hampshire is expected to open Aug. 19.

“We are so excited. New Hampshire has been asking for a Whole Foods Market for a long time, and we have been looking. It is really the perfect spot for us,” said Heather McCready, public relations manager for the North Atlantic Region of Whole Foods Market. “The facility is still under construction, but we have a talented team, and we feel confident we will be able to get it all done in time.”

The store is being constructed in the former Market Basket site at the Turnpike Plaza on Amherst Street, just west of the F.E. Everett Turnpike’s Exit 7.

Whole Foods expects to open a second New Hampshire location as well: A Portsmouth store is in the planning stages, according to McCready.

Asked whether any additional stores are possible in New Hampshire, McCready said, “We are experiencing great growth in the company, so it is certainly possible.

Plus, New Hampshire has strongly supported us and has been requesting a lot of stores, so it is a possibility.”

But for now, the Nashua store is preparing for its opening bread-breaking ceremony, which has become a tradition for new Whole Foods Market stores.

The local store is expected to employ up to 100 workers, according to McCready.

Some employees will transfer from other Whole Foods stores, including the Nashua store manager, Philip DeVito. DeVito, who lives in Nashua, will be moving from the Cambridge, Mass., store.

This week, Whole Foods Market hosted a suppliers summit in Concord to allow small businesses, farmers and growers to meet with management to discuss the possibility of placing their products on store shelves — not just in Nashua, but potentially throughout the region and companywide.

“A huge part of our mission as a company is to support local suppliers,” said McCready, adding about 300 to 350 suppliers attended the summit and are interested in learning more.

The Texas-based company has been planning to move into Nashua since at least 2006, according to a quarterly report published in that year.

“We have been searching for the perfect location to serve the community with a full shopping experience, and we are pleased to have found it in Nashua,” Laura Derba, regional president, has said.

This week, McCready agreed, saying the new store is going to be beautiful once it is completed in a few weeks.

khoughton@newstote.com



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