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AUSTIN, Texas -- Leading natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market opened its inaugural Baton Rouge store yesterday, its third in the state of Louisiana. The nearly 50,000-square-foot location is at 7529 Corporate Blvd. at Jefferson Highway.
A similarly sized store opened May 18 in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. Like the Metairie location, the Baton Rouge store carries many items reflecting the region's Cajun and Creole culinary heritage while fulfilling Whole Foods' mission to offer products without artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, preservatives, and hydrogenated oils, according to the company.
The Baton Rouge store's meat and seafood features include a 46-foot seafood counter, an in-house meat and seafood smoker, in-house handmade sausages, a dry-aged beef program, a cut-to-order charcuterie; and an extensive oven-ready/grill-ready meat selection. Among the other offerings are homemade gelato, an in-house coffee roaster, a brick hearth-fired pizza oven, and a salad, soup, and hot food bar. Additionally, customers can order a seafood, barbeque, or pasta meal at one of three full-service, sit-down restaurants.
Despite the emphasis on convenient gourmet options, the Baton Rouge store also has Whole Foods' signature hand-stacked produce, as well as a wide variety of artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked artisan bread, an olive and antipasti bar, hundreds of wine selections, pastries and cakes made fresh daily, homemade doughnuts, a chocolate enrobing fountain for dipping fresh fruits or cookies.
The Baton Rouge location additionally houses a Whole Body department with a large array of natural body and nutrition items, among them vitamins, supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, cosmetics, and body care products. A staff esthetician is available to help customers with their skin care needs.
Whole Foods celebrated the store opening with a ceremony in which Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden and Whole Foods Market representatives broke large loaf of challah bread. Later, Cajun and zydeco musicians and dancers performed.
Upcoming events at the store include a July 23 book signing by local celebrity chef and cookbook author Holly Clegg and a July 28 cooking class taught by local and internationally known chef John Folse.
Regular store hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Whole Foods currently operates over 165 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom under the Whole Foods Market, Harry's Farmers Market, and Fresh & Wild banners. The company has more than 34,000 employees.