A Grocery Store and Community Center
Head into a crowded Whole Foods Market on a Saturday and you'll have no doubt it's already a go-to grocer for the masses. But it sets the bar for amenities, too.
"At Whole Foods Market, we love to introduce children to the world of food and nutrition in a creative and educational way," said Marcia Whelan, marketing team leader at Whole Foods.
Its Whole Kids Club offers discounts on kid-centered classes, free treats on Tuesdays, a free gelato upon joining and other perks. Behind-the-scenes store tours are available for the curious ones in your family, and the store even offers birthday parties themed around everything from a day at the spa to pirates. Whole Foods offers monthly classes for kids, summer camp options, child-free shopping experiences and even story times. Clearly, Whole Foods has positioned itself as both a grocery store and a community center.
Getting Families Back in the Kitchen
Meal time is more fun when everyone participates, and, at Dierbergs, kid-centered cooking classes have been a big hit, said Todd Vasel. "Our cooking classes are extremely popular among adults, so it's only natural to design programming with kids in mind," he said. Classes are geared toward children in kindergarten through eighth grade and range from one to two hours to five-day camps depending on age and skill level. Some, like Dinner Delights and Easy as Pie, are meant to be taken as families, and others are for kids only.
Schnucks is also seeing a rise in interest in family cooking, said Lori Willis, director of communication for the grocery store chain.
"These classes are an opportunity for children to make new friends, to work with real chefs, and to learn a valuable skill. Even the youngest children can be exposed to the art of cooking," said Willis. She's excited about Schnucks' summer "Boot Camp" program for kids ages 10-17 where students will have an extensive hands-on learning opportunity in a fun summer camp environment, like the one pictured at right.
Enticing Young Customers
Trader Joe's has long made a name for itself as family-friendly shopping attraction. The checkout walls are plastered with kids' art; stickers and color sheets are plentiful; and mini shopping carts are provided for the do-it-myself set. A seek-and-find Trader Joe's character (with a prize for the little ones who find it) is placed somewhere in the store.
Dierbergs offers kid-centered cooking classes at five of its metro locations. Classes begin at $12 and reservations are required. Call 636-812-1336 for more information.
Whole Foods has extensive offerings for kids at its Town and Country location, including fun behind-the-scenes tours . For more information, call Diane VanBooven at 636-527-1160 or visit the Whole Kids Club website.
Schnucks Cooks cooking class series also has courses for children and summer "Boot Camp" programs. Weekday and weekend opportunities mean something for everyone's busy schedules, and classes are held at many of its metro locations.
Cupcake photo courtesy of Schnucks. Egg hunt photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market.
After living and writing in St. Louis for almost 15 years, Meredith Boggess has plenty of good things to share about her adopted hometown. She and her husband recently welcomed their first daughter into their home on The Hill, and, despite the sleepless nights, they are still awash in that new parent glow. Contact Meredith at [email protected]