The Township of Marlboro is going natural.
Whole Foods Market, the world's leading retailer of natural and organic food products, will be opening a store in Marlboro in late 2012. The supermarket will be the centerpiece of the new Marlboro Commons shopping center, to be located at the corner of Route 9 South and County Route 520. The retailer agreed to a lease for 40,000 square feet of the 120,000-plus-square-foot area at the site.
In charge of development of Marlboro Commons is Pagano Real Estate Inc. of Glenn Rock, New Jersey. The Marlboro Planning Board voted unanimously to approve Robert Pagano's proposed shopping center in January, 2010. Michael Bsales, Vice President at Pagano Real Estate Inc., expects ground to be broken at the site within the next month.
"We're excited, the mayor's excited, and Marlboro's excited. Marlboro is a wonderful town and the people are anxious to see what we have to offer," Bsales said.
Though located in the shopping center, Whole Foods Market will be responsible for the contstruction of its own store. Negotiations for tenants at Marlboro Commons have been ongoing, but Walgreens has frequently been mentioned as a potential occupant during meetings of the Marlboro Planning Board. A PNC Bank located south of Route 520 would remain in its location.
In a February 17 press release, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik said the new Whole Foods Market will create 130 new jobs and $500,000 in annual tax revenue to the town.
Whole Foods Market is a full service grocery store with over 300 locations mostly across the United States. According to the Whole Foods website, the chain "features foods free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats." The food retailer specializes in sales of organic and natural products. To qualify as "organic" in the United States, food must be farmed without the use of pesticides, antibiotics or genetically altered organisms. "Natural" foods refer to those that are minimally processed.
According to the Organic Trade Assocation's 2010 Organic Industry Survey, the percentage of food sales in the U.S. that are organic has climbed to 3.7 percent. U.S. sales of organic products reached $26.6 billion in 2009, with $1.8 billion accounted for in organic non food items.
Michael Sinatra, Public Relations Manager for Whole Foods Market's Northeast Region, says the store places an emphasis on regional products. "It is very important to have a close tie to local farms and businesses. Depending on the season, stores will be packed with locally caught fish and seafood." Sinatra cites Brooks Seafood Distrubutors Inc. of Sea Bright as an example of Whole Foods Market's use of suppliers within New Jersey.
The new store will feature a variety of produce grown in the Garden State. "The Jersey staples," Sinatra said. "Corn and tomatoes, apples in the fall, and locally grown asparagus." Sinatra added that all grass fed beef will come from New Jersey farms.
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, the supermarket chain is recognized for its efforts maintain a green initiative. Whole Foods ranked third on the most recent incarnation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's quarterly list of Top 25 Green Power Partners.
"Environmental stewardship is of the utmost importance," says Sinatra. "From recycling to composting, Whole Foods works with the environment. Even walking down the aisles shoppers can witness a lot of the wood is reclaimed wood. We use a lot of green energy, including solar panels on roofs and fuel cells."
An official statement from Whole Foods Market Northeast Regional President Christina Minardi regarding the new store cited the public's will in determining the destination.
"In opening this location, we are most excited about the opportunity to come to a community that has long campaigned for a store. We thank the community for their phone calls, letters and e-mails expressing their passion for our company and look forward to serving Marlboro and its surrounding communities in the near future.”
Fortune Magazine has ranked the company among its "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" every year since the list's creation in 1998. Upon opening in 2012, the Whole Foods Market of Marlboro will be the eleventh of its kind in New Jersey and follows the Middletown location as the second in Monmouth County.