Health magazine named the top 10 healthiest grocery stores — learn more about how they picked here — and (no surprise) Whole Foods
takes top honors. In fact, lucky for Lakewood/East Dallas dwellers, we have three of the list toppers right near the 'hood —in addition to WF, Albertsons and Supertarget earned honors. Check out the entire list here — you'll find some surprises (remember Food Lion?).
Lots of action at the new Whole Foods in Lakewood today — thanks to our 24/7 webcam, I can count five cement trucks in front of the store. I guess this means that the foundation problems inside the store have been identified and are being repaired. As you can tell from the webcam, almost the entire front of the store has been opened up, which is bound to make the new Whole Foods seem a lot more roomy than the Minyard's did.
A $500 gift card to the new Whole Foods is the grand prize of the Lakewood Neighborhood Association's latest contest. The association's new "green" committee is interested in finding out what steps neighbors have taken to protect the environment, both big and small, so everyone can learn from each other. Of course, Whole Foods is working on its LEED certification for the new building, which also ties into the contest.
The categories are: Here and There (contestants are already using a few green ideas); Green I Am (contestants have made up to $50,000 in green improvements to their houses); Dr. Seuss (contestants have made more than $50,000 in green improvements to their houses); Green Landscaping (contestants utilize green strategies on their lawns and landscaping, such as xeriscaping or vegetable gardening); and Green Kids (contestants from ages 5 to 18 are helping with going green at home).
First prize winners will receive a $100 Whole Foods gift card, and honorable mentions will receive gift cards from "green" neighborhood merchants. Full contest details are below.
Natural Grocers, which has 24 stores in Colorado and one in New Mexico, has opened a store in Richardson and says it’s looking at other locations in the Dallas area. I have a call in to the company's Lakewood, Colo., headquarters to see if they’ll answer a few questions about the operation. Apparently, they’re looking at the Lower Greenville Whole Foods site as well, according to the Vitamin Information Center.
Natural Grocers is a $25 million family business, specializing in vitamins (it started as something called Vitamin Cottage) and organic and natural foods. The first Dallas-area store is small, only about 14,000 feet, which makes it two-thirds the size of the Whole Foods on Lower Greenville. My favorite part of the company web site is What We Won’t Sell You and Why.
Natural Grocers is at least the third small chain that is opening stores in Dallas, following Sunflower and Sprouts.
Did we dodge the bullet with Whole Foods? The company announced yesterday that it is cutting the number of new and renovated stores it will open next year to 15 from 22 this year, eliminating its dividend, and slashing capital spending not related to construction by half. Said Whole Foods boss John Mackey: "We’re going through a tough time here."
So it’s probably a good thing -– a very good thing –- that we’re seeing progress on our Whole Foods web cam this afternoon. There are a couple of dumpsters in the parking lot and various workers and tractors large and small scurrying around.
Who would have thought that Minyard, as a grocery store chain, would be one-half its size in less time than it took Whole Foods to open its Lakewood store in the old Minyard?
But that’s the case with the news that Minyard, which started in East Dallas 76 years ago, will sell 37 of its 66 stores to the Houston company that owns Fiesta. By the time the transaction is done, Fiesta will run 11 Dallas-area Carnivals (Minyard’s Hispanic-themed brand) and dispose of the rest to various Texas grocers that it does business with. Among those are Malone’s, which has eight stores in the Dallas area under the Malone’s Cost Plus and Mi Super Labels. Minyard’s will operate 29 stores under the Minyard’s label. I have a call in to Craig McDaniel, the former East Dallas councilman who handles PR for the chain, to see what will go where.
The Minyard family founded the company in 1932, and the first store was on Lindsley near the family home. The Minyards sold out to a Fort Worth-based investment group shortly before the Lakewood store changed hands in January 2007. The new owners had focused the company’s future on the Carnival banner, but apparently decided that wasn’t the way to go, either. In the process, more than 2,300 employees may lose their jobs.
I've been out of town for a week, so progress on the Whole Foods site hasn't been on my radar. But now that I'm back, it looks like it was a productive week — about six "portholes" have been punched in the hitherto all-brick facade on the Richmond Avenue side of the building, and there's lots of activity in the front of the store today, with several dirt-moving trucks parked out front and some of the original brick facade where the Minyard's sign originally hung being taken down. To see for yourself, click here.
I captured this at about 8 a.m. recently while watching live activity at the new Lakewood Whole Foods location. Two pickup trucks had just driven off — they had been parked on the Gaston side toward the middle of the picture.
You, too, can have this much fun every day at your own computer. We have the Whole Foods webcam up and running 24/7, and it will be there until the renovation is complete, whenever that blessed day may occur.
So if you want to check in every once in a while to see live video of the Whole Foods construction — or if you just want to see who is driving north and south on Abrams between Richmond and Gaston — check it out.
I'm showing my age here, but a brief in the DMN about X2 Chili being sold at Whole Foods Market made me recall the one-and-only, original Dallas chili-man: Frank X. Tolbert. Tolbert (who died in 1984) was a true bear of a man, tall and lanky and loud and funny and everything I imagined a Texan would be when I was growing up in Minnesota. And in case you didn't know, X2 is Frank's son, as well as an accomplished but eclectic artist, and X2 Chili is a frozen version of what the son cooked up for the father at the downtown Tolbert's Chili Parlor on Main across from El Centro, where those of us who worked at the Morning News back then spent many a lunch and, sometimes, dinner hour.
In fact, the first restaurant I remember eating at when I arrived in Dallas in 1978 was the Tolbert's across from the Melrose Hotel on Cedar Springs at Oak Lawn (there's a Walgreen's there now, and it was a Luby's before). Tolbert's super-serious chili was way too hot for my Yankee tastebuds back then, and that was before I met Frank X. his-own-self at the Morning News, where the guy pretty much had the run of the place. He occasionally wrote a history column, but he seemed to spend most of his time telling stories to youngsters like me when he wasn't holed up with Blackie Sherrod and/or John Anders (also rather elusive but personality-laden columnists at the News back then). Tolbert had a hand in starting up the Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert - Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cookoff, and if you don't want to try the frozen variety, you can get a fresh batch of Tolbert's chili at the remaining Tolbert's in Grapevine, operated by Frank's daughter (and X2's sister) Kathleen.
And I guarantee you that if you click on all of the links in this blog post, you'll have added a mini-history of Dallas and Texas to your party repertoire.