By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Aug 01, 2006 at 5:17 AM
Milwaukee has been waiting with bated breath for the highly anticipated Whole Foods Market -- which specializes in selling natural, organic and gourmet foods and is currently celebrating its 25th year of operation -- to open its doors.

Well, the public won't have to wait too much longer since the store's scheduled to open Sept. 20.

Located at the corner of North and Prospect on the East Side, Whole Foods will act as the anchor store for Columbia-St. Mary's Medical Center, which opens in 2010.

"Milwaukee residents have been patiently waiting the opening of Whole Foods Market, and we are eager to share our passion for truly delicious, fresh, all natural foods with them," said Jon Gass, Whole Foods Market Store Team Leader. "Whether they're seeking the largest selection of organically grown produce, all natural and organic meats, fresh artisanal cheeses, or simply an enjoyable shopping experience with outstanding customer service, we look forward to opening our doors and being a part of the Milwaukee community."

This Whole Foods will be only the second of its kind in Wisconsin; the first is located in Madison. The 55,000 sq.-ft. East Side store will join Whole Foods' growing fleet -- currently approaching 180 in locations all over the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.

But the Milwaukee location has a few firsts in store for foodies, shoppers and hungry people alike.

Most notably: a first of its kind beer and brat station with flatscreen televisions, six beers on tap and comfortable seating; a taqueria bar, freestanding brick pizza oven, made-to-order sushi and panini stations; and a state-of-the-art open kitchen area, viewable from the store floor.

"We want people to enjoy the store and see it as an excellent meeting place," said Whole Foods PR specialist Kate Klotz, who added that the Milwaukee Whole Foods will have three times the beer selection of any other store in the chain.

These are location extras that will energize the East Side, bring in the public and set Whole Foods apart from the other grocery stores in the area.  Outdoor seating also is expected, and the building will have plenty of parking. 

In line with the chain's motto -- "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet" -- the store promises shoppers will find that all products will be free of hydrogenated fats and artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and additives.

Whole Foods has scheduled a Job Fair for Aug. 23 at the Midwest Airlines Center.  More information is available at the store's Web site. 
Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.