Spring is the season of renewal and new grocery options are sprouting up this month.
At the south-east corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Harvard Street, Erewhon grocery store has planted new roots in a 10,500-square-foot space.
The company, founded in 1968, is an independent, family-owned grocer with locations in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Venice and now Santa Monica. They offer a 100 percent organic produce section and are known for stocking their shelves with products from smaller suppliers. According to the company, its product recommendations are made from the store level, not a corporate office.
“I work with a lot of small companies, that aren’t in Gelson’s, Bristol Farms, or Whole Foods, they wouldn’t waste their time on them because they are more expensive,” said Erewhon Vice President, Jason Widener. “The practices that are behind some of these small companies are necessary and important and there’s a lot of awareness and heart that is put into [them]…they are what people are supporting.”
On April 11 at 9 a.m., the doors opened at 2800 Wilshire Boulevard to a long line of anticipated shoppers.
Local business owner Winter Reign was among the eager shoppers
“I am excited that Erewhon is here for its extensive selection in specialty health products and foods,” she said.
Alison Wells, a nutritionist an avid Erewhon shopper, has experience with their other locations.
“I like the selection and that most of the foods are organic. It’s a little different, you know it’s not as generic as whole foods, its more exclusive [where] you pay more, but you get better products and that’s what I like”.
Designed by Montalba Architects with over 70 staff members per shift, the brand-new market space is equipped with opaque glass windows looking onto the street and an indoor-outdoor garden trellis of seating.
David Montalba, founding principal of Montalba Architects said, “ … at Erewhon, the food is at the core of everything with vibrant produce, colorful ingredients, and curated products. Ultimately, we wanted the design, architecture, and landscape to be a platform to showcase the food and foster engagement with guests.”
Erewhon sits in the middle of Santa Monica, a close distance to residents,
Widener said the company chose Santa Monica for its fourth location because the City understands the company’s priorities.
“We knew we wanted to be in Santa Monica because we felt like the Santa Monica community would understand us,” he said. “The people here have integrity, and when you have [integrity], you look at the details of things and I think Santa Monica will be able to see through things that don’t feel genuine, and we are such a genuine brand.”
The grand opening comes at a time of change for the city’s grocery economy. Whole Foods closed their store at Wilshire and 5th Street recently while opening a new location under their 365 brand at Pico and Cloverfield.
The former Albertson’s store on Lincoln was sold and briefly reopened under the Haggen brand before turning into a Gelson’s. That location has remodeled and will host a week of reopening celebrations between April 23 – 29.
“Bringing fresh experiences into each store and launching new concepts, like our meat-and-seafood grill station in Santa Monica, is a priority for us. We’re always looking for new ways to increase the benefits and convenience for our customers, truly differentiating the Gelson’s food and lifestyle experience,” said Gelson’s President & CEO Rob McDougall.
Daily Press Editor Matthew Hall contributed to this story.