After more than a decade of trying, Amazon.com-owned grocery chain Whole Foods Market has opened in Burbank.
“Personally, I’m glad they took an extra 10 years – this is a great location.” Store Team Leader Dave Aebersold said. “Everyone I’ve talked to over the past several weeks has been so excited.”
Throngs of customers turned out Wednesday morning for the grand opening of the store, which sits at 3401 West Olive Ave. just across from the city’s corridor of film and television studios and not far from Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. The health food grocer previously had wanted to set up shop near the equestrian center in Burbank’s Rancho District, but was turned down in 2007 by the city due to traffic concerns, the Business Journal reported.
The 42,000-square-foot store is designed to cater to its studio and hospital neighbors: The prepared food station is larger than those of other Whole Foods stores, and there’s a restaurant and bar called Studio71. Part of Talaria at Burbank – a mixed-use project that was approved in 2014 despite some pushback from local residents – the store is situated beneath a 241-unit luxury apartment complex.
The bulk of the store’s 240 employees work in Studio71 or in the prepared foods department, according to Aebersold. A quarter of them relocated from other markets, while the rest were new hires. Roughly 20 percent are from the Burbank community.
Based on Wednesday’s customer turnout, Aebersold anticipates that the store will have another hiring fair very soon.
“It’s really hard to forecast how a store is going to open,” Aebersold said. “I think it’s very clear today that the store is packed.”