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Whole Foods to open near Tempe campus

New Whole Foods to provide students with healthier options and an in-store restaurant and bar

20191023 Tempe Whole Foods 0001

The Whole Foods Market at the intersection of University Drive and Ash Avenue is pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Tempe.

Whole Foods is relocating its current Tempe location to bring healthy foods closer to campus, and the market, which will be on the corner of University Drive and Ash Avenue, is set to open on Nov. 6.

The grand opening celebration will kick off with complimentary refreshments, food and music before the store opens at 9 a.m. 

“We can’t wait to bring Whole Foods Market to downtown Tempe,” said Stephen Rice, a store team leader in a press release announcing the new location. “We look forward to providing our customers with a greater selection of accessible, fresh, and innovative products and grab-and-go options."

The first 300 customers will be gifted with a custom Whole Foods Tempe reusable grocery bag and surprise gift cards with values ranging from $5 to $100. 

One of the new features at this location will be the in-store restaurant and bar, called On Ash. The restaurant will serve pub-style food with vegan options and more options for those with dietary restrictions.

Another special feature is the in-store Nekter Juice Bar that offers healthy and nutritious fruit smoothies, açai bowls and juices.

The location will offer customers fresh produce, a bakery, a full-service butcher, a seafood department and a hot and cold food bar, which is similar to many of Whole Food's other locations across the state. 

With a lack of healthy options on and around campus, Kalin Lamus, a junior studying environmental design, is excited about a new healthy eating option. 

“I’m really happy that there will be a grocery store so close to campus that will have plenty of vegan options,” Lamus said.

Having dietary restrictions or preferences can make finding nutritious food on a college campus even more difficult, she said. 

“Eating vegan in college can be really difficult especially since there aren’t always stores or restaurants with quality vegan food,” Lamus said. 

An abundance of fast-food chains right on campus and unfavorable dining hall food can leave students without options, Lamus said.

Harrison Sunde, a sophomore studying sports business, said he is not as thrilled about a more expensive grocery store being added close to campus. 

READ MORE: The addition of a Whole Foods in Tempe excites some, concerns others

“I wish that there was another grocery store going in that spot,” Sunde said. “Whole Foods is way too pricey for a lot of college students’ budgets.” 

With Whole Foods being a higher-end grocery chain, Sunde said he doesn't feel like it will accommodate students. 

“I feel like the adults and families in this area will benefit more from it than ASU students will,” Sunde said. 

Noah Willis, an interdisciplinary studies junior, said that with a lack of healthy food options near campus, the Whole Foods will be a benefit to the area.

“There aren’t really a lot of healthy places to eat right around campus so for there to be one right on campus is great,” he said.

The store's location will also be a plus, Willis said. The store is about a 20 minute walk from the Memorial Union, and the light rail and Orbit minibus stops are also near the store. 

“For students without cars this location will be easier to get to because of the light rail and Orbit bus stops,” Willis said.

The location will employ 125 full and part-time employees. It’s regular store hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Reach the reporter at and follow @AliyahMagee on Twitter. 

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