Great News For Avalon Vegan Enthusiasts
With the announcement last week from Whole Foods that they were moving into Midtown Detroit it only seems appropriate to highlight their commitment for local goods and businesses. Below you'll find a wonderful write up from Amanda Mussilli as well as a great coupon incentive to visit one of the current Whole Foods locations to receive a Free Avalon vegan treat.
Click coupon to download
Amanda Musilli, the Detroit liaison for Whole Foods, is a tireless advocate for Detroit everyday and Avalon in particular within Whole Foods. Since launching a small line of Avalon vegan products in March, Whole Foods has partnered with Avalon to help spread the word about our great food and great values, including this new promotional coupon, which you can download above. This is not available inside the stores, but only through Avalon and other outside Whole Foods events, so please share freely with Avalon fans throughout Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. Not available as a regular in store promotion this coupon will only be available through the Avalon's shop, online, and outside Whole Foods events.
We are so excited to now carry Avalon International Breads delicious vegan baked goods in the Bakery Departments of all five of our Michigan stores! We started with a modest selection from their vegan line, since this is an underserved and growing niche of our customers, not to mention Avalon’s vegan goods are so yummy! But, given their popularity, we look forward to adding more of their products to our stores in the near future!
Our relationship with Avalon is a great example of how we support our local communities and strive to continually increase our local offerings in every store in the company. We met with Ann and Jackie in the summer of 2010, when Walter Robb, our co-CEO was visiting. Being a Detroiter myself, and wanting to show Walter some of the best things about Detroit, we took him to Avalon for breakfast, and he was really impressed. From there, we worked in overdrive to ensure all our Michigan stores could carry their amazing products and it has been a great success! Avalon is only one great example of how our local producer program is brought to action. Many people don’t know that we have a dedicated Local Producer Program or that we offer Local Producer Loans. Click here for additional details on these two programs and more insight into how they help support our local economy and communities.
Of course, Avalon is just one success story from our Michigan community. Following are a few other local Michigan success stories; many of these products you may have already enjoyed! All of these products started at just one store and have grown over the years to be carried not only at all five Michigan Whole Foods Market locations, but in other stores in the region as well:
• Kenzoil - In the spring of 1995, while living in Ann Arbor, Ken Carlsen was inspired to create a salad dressing that was healthy and contained neither sugar nor vinegar. In 1998, Ken started selling Kenzoil to the public at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Customers loved Kenzoil, and by 1999, Kenzoil was being sold at Merchant of Vino stores in the Detroit area, which later became a part of Whole Foods Market. Today, Kenzoil is sold in all 33 Whole Foods Market locations in the Midwest Region.
• McClure’s Pickles - In 2006, using their great grandmother Lala’s recipe, Bob and Joe McClure started McClure’s Pickles after years of making pickles in their tiny Michigan kitchen. They make the pickles, relish, mustard and other McClure’s products just outside of Detroit, Michigan and in Brooklyn, New York. McClure’s Pickles, along with their Bloody Mary Mix, Relish and Pickle Brine are sold in our five Michigan Whole Foods Market locations as well as a handful of our Chicago locations.
• Jessica’s Granola - Jessica's Natural Foods granola started out in our West Bloomfield store in 2008. Jessica quickly developed a strong relationship with the store’s Grocery Buyer and scheduled demos in the store on a regular basis. That created a buzz, and soon the other MI stores started carrying her product. Regular demos were conducted in each store, and this helped make the sales really impressive, which lead the other stores in the Midwest wanting to carry her product. Today, Jessica's Natural Foods granola from Birmingham is carried in all 33 of our Midwest stores.
Local Producer Loans
Whole Foods Market's Local Producer Loan Program provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to small, local producers. Why? Because we believe in supporting local farmers and producers. We want to make it easier for them to grow their businesses and bring more local products to market. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000 and can be for things like purchasing more animals, investing in new equipment or converting to organic production. We minimize the fees, interest rates and paperwork that can often get in the way of a small local farm or business taking the next step to expand its operations. If you are interested in learning more, or applying for one of our loans, click here.
We are permanently committed to buying from local producers whose products meet our high Quality Standards, particularly those who farm organically and are dedicated to environmentally friendly, sustainable agriculture and production practices. We have greatly increased our efforts in this regard by further empowering our individual stores and regional buyers to seek out locally grown products.
For our local producers, typically their products are rolled out initially in one store. This begins with relationship building with one of the store’s departmental buyers. Our buyers have a strong understanding of their store’s customer needs, and will offer solid advice on whether the product will be well received among the store’s customer base, and also whether the product fulfills unique needs not already filled by another product. They also can offer advice on improving packaging and production to help the vendor better succeed within our stores. This process can vary by department and store.
At Whole Foods Market, we strive to support our local growers and producers as often as possible. If you have questions about Whole Foods Market and our local producer program, please feel free to reach out to me directly at Amanda.Musilli@WholeFoods.com.
Thank you for your support,