I shop at Whole Foods on an occasional basis. I drop by after a day at the office to pick up natural and organic produce, European beer and wine, freshly baked bread, whole milk in glass jugs, and miscellaneous other items. On rare occasions I pop in during my lunch hour and pick up a healthy meal from the salad bar. And with each of these purchases, I pay, I pay.
The food I purchase at Whole Foods is almost always good and almost always expensive. Organic and health foods are this store's claim to fame, and indeed, one can purchase all manner of soy products, dietary supplements, natural grain cereals, and environmentally friendly household and personal products. One can also choose from a wide variety of bulk olives, multiple forms of humus, tasty olive spreads, purple potatoes, cuts of buffalo, stuffed salmon rolls ready to cook, and freshly made marshmallows.
Whole Foods in Reston is part of a chain of over 170 stores located across the United States and the United Kingdom. Viewing itself as a set of values as well as a business, its mission statement upholds a belief in the "virtuous circle entwining the food chain, human beings and Mother Earth."
Aside from striving to save the planet by encouraging organic farming techniques, a mission taken seriously, each store finds its own way to integrate into the community it serves. The Reston stores calendar of activities includes cooking lessons, kids' nights, live music, nutrition education, and artist receptions. Hence, Whole Foods is not just a store, it's a community center.
The store is part of the Plaza America shopping complex, and parking is a pain. The entrance itself is a bit cramped, especially as regards shopping carts and at-the-door specials. Once inside, however, the store is a pleasure to visit. It even includes a smallish seating space near the checkout lanes--an area that serves as a convenient spot to eat that lunchtime salad or to gather for store-sponsored events.
PROS: Variety of organic and natural foods, laudible business ethics
CONS: Expensive, a bit new wave in its impact