Local Love Goes A Long Way
If you didn’t already know, there’s a new phenomenon in Lafayette that’s got everyone taking long lunch hours and causing unfathomable road rage among drivers on the South Side of town. And it’s called “the new Whole Foods Market.”
It feels like we’ve been waiting decades for it, and now it’s finally here. And it’s glorious. And just as expected, it’s been packed every day since opening its doors. Seriously, I went Sunday and I had to wait in a line with my shopping cart just to get in the door.
The store is small [it feels less than half the size of the Baton Rouge store], but what it lacks for in square footage, it makes up for in purely Lafayette vibes. And that’s what I want to talk about: localized branding. We don’t have to talk about the genius of the Whole Foods brand (because everyone else has), but their diligence in market research is outstanding. From the wall art when you first walk in [pictured below] to the poutine station near the salad bar, you can tell they tailor-made this store for our community. In fact, Whole Foods Lafayette is one of the only stores in the world to house a bar inside it. A BAR!!!
Outside of the aesthetics of the store, Whole Foods Lafayette is donating a percentage of sales to some notable nonprofit organizations around the city. Also, they’re using local vendors like Poupart’s Bakery to stock the shelves. They haven’t been open a week and they’ve already deeply engrained themselves in the community. And locals feel the love. It’s no wonder they’re flocking to Whole Foods like it’s the fountain of youth!
Make no mistake, the packed parking lot and lines out the door can totally be attributed to the “allure of something new.” But this massive, global company has done its homework to make it feel like a hometown store. Whole Foods is already warming the hearts and bellies of the community. The localization of the brand will turn novelty shoppers into loyal patrons. It also helps that here in Acadiana, we appreciate companies who embrace and enrich our culture.
That advice goes for any local business: Take a moment to think about what you’re doing to give back and become a part of the community. Your survival depends on appealing to local consumers. And it’s easy to love a business that shows its love for you.