Whole Foods Market 365 opened its first Ohio store in Akron Thursday— making it the first one in Ohio and only the sixth one in the country.
It is a big gain for the Rubber City, and a big opportunity for a local small business.
Tim and Emily Bechtel have turned their passion into their profession.
"We believe in high-quality ingredients and treating people right,” said Tim. “Yes, people first and profits second,” added Emily.
Two years after opening Artisan Coffee in Akron they have a new business venture brewing.
"Opening a second location, let alone with Whole Foods, is really unbelievable, and it's really exciting,” said Tim.
"With every 365, we like to reach out to local businesses and have them live in our space with us,” explained Audree Lane, team leader for the new Whole Foods Market 365 in Akron. “We refer to them as our friends of 365.”
She said they couldn’t be more excited to have Artisan join them.
“Their coffee is wonderful and they are just the most kind-hearted people,” she said.
It's the first one East of the Mississippi and Northeast Ohio residents are excited about it coming to their own backyard.
"Why not Akron,” asked Lane. “Akron is an amazing place to live. I moved back here to raise my family.”
365 is Whole Food's chain of smaller stores with lower prices, and a focus on their "365 Everyday Value" brand.
Lane said it remains unclear how the Amazon purchase may impact pricing at 365, but she said the value is already there.
"It's exciting, and it's still surreal,” said Emily.
Artisan will sell their coffee in the store and serve it fresh at the coffee bar. The in-store location is their design and they maintain control of their product.
"We basically pay them a license fee every month," explained Tim.
You will find other Ohio, and locally-made goods in the store, as well.
It is a blend of new options and opportunities that has Akron buzzing.
"I feel like that's the Akron way; we're constantly reinventing ourselves,” smiled Lane.
365 hired 90 people in Akron. Lane said 16 were transfers. Artisan hired an additional six people for the new location.
Lane encouraged shoppers to sign up for member rewards online to experience the most savings.
Whole Food Market 365 | 1745 W Market St, Akron, OH 44313