Whole Foods auditions business owners for new Huntersville store - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Whole Foods auditions business owners for new Huntersville store

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HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) -

It was a big day for the owners of a new local business called Café Perfecto, as they prepared their gourmet Columbian coffee for some folks who could ultimately change their lives.
 
Café Perfecto's Brian Cockman knew a lot was at stake, but he was ready for it.
 
"We're excited to really up our game, and perhaps one day go national," he said. "That would be a dream come true."
 
A dream that could actually be attainable thanks to the business model at Whole Foods.
 
"Whenever we open a new store in a new market we take some time to try to get to know the community," said Whole Food's Stephen Corradini, "to make sure that we're connecting with local producers and growers and so today we've invited a bunch of producers and growers to meet with our product teams to make sure we have their items on our shelves."
 
It's no small opportunity – landing a spot at Whole Foods can make a small business.
 
"It can bring lots of success," Corradini says. He is the chain's regional vice president of purchasing, and he's seen it before.
 
"One of my greatest points of pride working with local producers and growers is seeing them succeed," he says. "And success is not just necessarily doubling or tripling volume, it's seeing them grow as business people, realizing they can do more, branching out in other categories maybe they weren't as comfortable with – building brand equity."
 
Whole Foods will open a new store in Huntersville in the fall, its second in our region, and Melissa Guarnaccia would love to sell her baby food there.
 
"It'll mean the world to me and my family," she says.
 
She's a mom and her product, Giggle Bites, is just two months old - born out of necessity.
 
"I just wasn't too happy with the baby food options out there. I wanted a more all natural product, and so I decided to make my boy's food homemade," Guarnaccia says, ending up with an additive and preservative free food that's easy to thaw and serve. It seemed like a great product to sell. "We wanted to bring this to other parents who wanted fresher, all natural food for their babies but didn't have time to make it themselves."
 
But not everyone auditioning for the Huntersville store has a new business.
 
"We started in 1998, " says Kimberly Baldwin, who make jams and jellies and pickles with her husband.
 
Kimberly says she wasn't nervous pitching her products to Whole Foods, but her husband interjects, laughing.  "Just a little bit," he says.
 
The Baldwins know full well how much getting into Whole Foods could mean for them.
 
The Whole Foods in Huntersville will open late fall.

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