Written by: Olivia Yates, Marketing and Community Relations Liaison

In a world where businesses compete to attract and retain great employees, Whole Foods Market Bellingham’s team members are part of a nearly four-decade tradition of passion for healthy, natural food and core values that live and breathe in every store. As an 18-year veteran at Whole Foods Market, Otto Leuschel, the Store Team Leader (aka “General Manager”) has long appreciated the company’s commitment to team members at all levels and in all roles, “It’s a really high quality company from the inside out and there’s a great work-life balance here,” Leuschel says.

Whole Foods Market Bellingham
Make plans to visit Whole Foods Market in Bellingham. Photo courtesy: Whole Foods Market.

Five of Whole Foods Market’s eight core values are people-centric. From suppliers to stakeholders, Whole Foods Market is a company of mission-driven people who partner daily with quality-driven producers to supply the best quality natural and organic products in the world to customers in Whatcom County.

Here is how the Bellingham Whole Foods Market embodies these core values:

We Satisfy, Delight and Nourish Our Customers

Whole Foods Market is a great source for healthy, nutritious food. Photo courtesy: Whole Foods Market.

 Whole Foods Market provides the highest quality natural and organic products, coupled with unbeatable customer service. When customers shop at the Bellingham store, they’ll experience unparalleled services that make a world of difference: the Produce department will happy cut a squash in half for a smaller portion, the Seafood team will debone a fish, the Meat team will season selected cuts and the Certified Cheese Professional, Amanda, is always happy to share a cheese recommendation and sample. Customers interested in trying products before they purchase them can simply ask a team member; they’ll gladly open or sample any product for customers to taste before they make their selection and share recipe ideas, tips and tricks.

Otto Leuschel is just as passionate about Whole Foods Market as he was when he began working for the company eighteen years ago. Photo courtesy: Whole Foods Market.

We Support Team Member Excellence and Happiness

The Bellingham team is a great mix of Bellingham locals and tenured Whole Foods Market team members who joined the store team because of their interest in living in the Greater Bellingham community. Store Team Leader, Otto Leuschel, started with Whole Foods Market in 1991 when there were only nine stores. After steady promotion to a Vice President role on the east coast, he left to start his own business venture. After eight years away, Leuschel jumped at the opportunity to rejoin Whole Foods Market and settle near his family in Whatcom County. Throughout the years, Otto finds that Whole Foods Market provides a contagious company culture and cultivates, “a positive environment where we’re all working on mutual goals and long term thinking about how we build quality into every aspect of what we do and how we do business.”

We Serve and Support our Local and Global Communities

Tierra Smith is still satisfied as a team member after two years working at Whole Foods Market. Photo credit: Dondi Tondro-Smith.

Since its inception, Whole Foods Market has strived to partner with other stakeholders to support strong, healthy communities. One way the company does this is through three non-profit foundations: Whole Kids Foundation, Whole Cities Foundation and Whole Planet Foundation.  In 2016, the Whole Kids Foundation awarded a $120,000 Schools Food Support Initiative grant to the Bellingham School District to help establish a healthier school meal program. The Whole Kids Foundation has also awarded 15 edible education school garden grants in the Bellingham Schools District, one in the Lummi Nation School over the past five years.

Whole Foods Market’s success is deeply rooted in Core Values, happy team members and satisfied customers. Customers are invited to stop into Whole Foods Market Bellingham to experience the difference first-hand.  Check out Whole Foods Market events on the online events calendar, from monthly Brewer’s Nights featuring local breweries to regular sampling events.


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