Whole Foods Market set to open Sept. 24

Whole Foods Market is set to open Sept. 24 in Lafayette, the high-end grocer’s first store in the city, the company announced Thursday.

The 36,200-square-foot store is taking shape at the corner of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Settlers Trace Boulevard, just down the street from the River Ranch development in an area of south Lafayette that has been booming in recent years.

The announcement of Whole Foods’ opening comes as plans are moving forward for a 58-acre retail center anchored by Costco nearby at the intersection of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Kaliste Saloom Road.

Construction of that project — Ambassador Town Center — is scheduled to begin later this year and is set to open by fall 2015, said Townsend Underhill, senior vice president of development for lead developer Stirling Properties.

“It’s a great corridor. It’s probably as good a retail corridor as there is in the state, if not the Gulf south,” Underhill said.

The 2,647 households within 1 mile of the Kaliste Saloom and Ambassador intersection have an average household income of $109,933, according to figures from Stirling.

The planned Ambassador Town Center will be the site of the third Costco location in Louisiana.

The big-box bulk retailer opened its first Louisiana store in New Orleans in 2013 and a second store earlier this year in Baton Rouge.

The Whole Foods in Lafayette will be the grocery chain’s fifth store in Louisiana.

Whole Foods has one store in Baton Rouge, one in Metairie and two in New Orleans.

The Whole Foods Market in Lafayette plans to hire 150 part-time and full-time employees, said General Manager John Veillon.

“We are looking for people who are passionate about food and food service,” he said.

He declined to comment on the specifics of pay but said “it’s better than the industry average.”

Anyone interested in applying should visit wholefoods market.com/careers.

Veillon said the market is also on the lookout for local farm goods and products for the store’s shelves.

Anyone interested should email louisianalocal@whole foods.com.

Whole Foods staff already has been trying to line up local producers.

“We have local forager who heads that up,” Veillon said.