Whole Foods Blithedale:  Business Partner of the Month

Geri Feldman, it’s safe to say, loves her job.  She’s lived in Mill Valley since 1988, has a son at Tam High, and as the Marketing and Community Relations Team Leader at the Blithedale Whole Foods, she gets to spend each day finding ways to make Mill Valley’s newest grocery store an integral part of her town.

The Blithedale Whole Foods is one of a chain of 366 stores nationwide, but supporting its local communities “has been a core value of the company since the first store opened in 1980,” explains Feldman.  You can see this in the store itself:  all of the produce comes from local farms, none farther than 100 miles away, and on the store shelves are products from nearby wineries, bakeries, and other merchants.

But this value extends beyond just buying locally, and that’s where Feldman comes in.  She’s in charge of distributing a donation fund that supports many nonprofits and schools in Mill Valley and southern Marin, including organizations as diverse as Mill Valley Girls’ Softball, Slide Ranch, and the Mill Valley Film Festival.  When asked why a large corporation whose bottom line is calculated in the hundreds of millions of dollars makes it a priority to invest in the communities that its stores call home, she has a ready answer.  “We’re part of this community, and it’s important to give back.  We all live in the same place, and they’re our people.”

The Tam High Foundation is proud to be one of the beneficiaries of Feldman’s “support local” mission.  “Supporting Tam is a no-brainer,” Feldman says.  “Tam’s a great place.  These students are the future, and I’m glad we can help give them a hand, especially in these tough budgetary times, when schools aren’t getting the money they need.”

Under her auspices, the Blithedale Whole Foods doesn’t just donate to the Foundation’s Business Campaign.  The store will donate five percent of all sales on December 18, 2013, to the Foundation and, for every Facebook “like” it gets before the end of January, it will give the Foundation a dollar.  Feldman has also found a way to help the Tam students she sees browsing the salad bar and deli counter every day at lunch.  The Blithedale store offers them a Lunch Punch card (available at the customer service counter) that gives them $5 off for every $50 they spend.   This furthers a cause close to her heart:  helping teens make healthy choices about what they eat.

Whether it’s giving kids a break on lunch or helping the Foundation fund the programs that make a difference in their education, the Foundation is grateful to the Blithedale Whole Foods, and to Geri Feldman, for their generous support of Tam and its students, and is pleased to make them our Business Partner of the Month for November.