Whole Foods is trying a new strategy to attract millennials.
The company is seeking “hip and cool” outside vendors like tattoo parlors and record shops to operate inside its new chain of stores, called 365 by Whole Foods Market, according to its website.
The company says it’s looking for “friends,” or outside vendors, who offer anything from food and drinks to fashion or body care products.
“We want to partner with startups as well as established brands across a variety of categories to help enhance the 365 experience,” the company says.
Each 365 store will have a different mix of vendors, which will operate independently of Whole Foods.
So what is Whole Foods specifically looking for from potential vendors?
“Our Friends bring something powerful, something new and exciting, or known and trusted, but hip and cool for sure,” the company states on its website.
Whole Foods is asking brands to reach out to them via email if they want to be considered.
Los Angeles-based restaurant chain Mendocino Farms might be one of the first outside vendors to operating inside 365 stores.
Whole Foods recently took a minority stake in the sandwich chain.
Mendocino has said it will open restaurants inside new and existing Whole Foods stores and that it will serve its full menu.
The menu includes items like “not so fried” chicken, spicy lemongrass steak banh mi, house smoked chicken and street corn torta, and prosciutto and free range chicken.
Offering freshly prepared sandwiches makes sense for Whole Foods. But adding a tattoo parlor or a record shop would mark a new direction for the grocery chain.
Whole Foods is opening the 365 chain to better compete with the increasingly crowded market for organic food. The chain will be cheaper than its namesake brand and cater to younger, tech-savvy customers.
The first 365 store opens in May in Los Angeles.
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