Whole Foods Market-Bellaire
In 1978 when Houstonian John Mackey was a college dropout living in Austin, he and his girlfriend opened a small natural foods store. When the couple got booted out of their apartment for storing food products there, they lived at the store and bathed with the attached water hose on the dishwasher. That was the beginning of Whole Foods Market, now the world's leading retailer of natural and organic foods. Like all of the other Whole Foods, those in Houston are posh villages comprised of many boutique establishments: a farmer’s market produce section, a first class boucherie and a fresh seafood counter where fish is expertly filleted to perfection, a vitamin shop, a flower market, a bakery, a wine shop, a funky gift emporium, a café and a gourmet take-out section just to name a few. The aisles are filled with exotic culinary offerings, holistic potions and everyday products from pizza to toilet paper that are all eco-friendly. The zeitgeist is mellow with knowledgeable and free-spirited staffers who favor tattoos and body piercings over the designer clothes and accessories worn by many of the shoppers for whom money is no object.