Texas Tidbits

The flagship Whole Foods store in Austin is very different from the new Cabela’s in Buda. They don’t sell the same merchandise, and they don’t target the same customers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do some comparison shopping.

In executive editor S. C. Gwynne’s feature story this month, “ Retail Politics ,” he writes about the type of consumers who shop at Whole Foods and those who shop at Cabela’s. The stores carry different merchandise and target different people. We thought it would be fun to do a little comparison shopping of our own.

How many people do the Central Texas stores employ?

Whole Foods: 575

Cabela’s: 400

What is the square footage of the store?

WF: 80,000 square feet

C: 185,000 square feet

How many parking spaces are available?

WF: The urban setting at Whole Foods required some creative architecture. One thousand spaces are provided in the on-site garage and small lot.

C: Cabela’s has enough pavement to accommodate 1,256 cars, 44 RVs, 46 semitrailers, and eight buses.

Historically, what has been the busiest shopping day for each store?

WF: The day before Thanksgiving.

C: Although the single busiest day at Cabela’s is unknown, the busiest times of year are the third and fourth quarters, where, in addition to traditional holiday shopping, fall hunting seasons begin.

What is the most expensive item for sale in the store?

WF: Château Cheval Blanc Premier Grand Cru Classé, a red wine from 1995, is priced at $425.99. Whole Foods also sells balsamic vinegar that has been aged forty years for $219.99.

C: Occasionally the Gun Library has collectible firearms worth upwards of $25,000.

Imported products come from how many countries?

WF: Approximately 30 countries

C: 99 countries

How many classes are taught in the store?

WF: Occasionally complimentary introductory wine-tasting classes are offered. “Moveable Feasts” is an event in which groups get a guided tour of the store and are treated to a specially made dish at each of the in-store eateries. The flagship store also plans to open a cooking school and offer cooking classes by spring 2006.

C: On any given day, Cabela’s offers a handful of classes and information sessions including but not limited to: basic fly casting, selecting a grill, selecting a sleeping bag, and predator calling basics. There are also animal call demonstrations throughout the day.

How many guns are for sale at Cabela’s?

Approximately 3,800, but the number shifts. The Gun Library buys and sells new, used, and antique firearms—sometimes entire collections.

How many varieties of animal calls are available at Cabela’s?

Four thousand different calls can be found, including elk bugles, javelina calls, and goose calls on tape. Some rather unorthodox methods are available too, including a rabbit motion decoy (a rabbit-shaped motor imitates the movements of a rabbit to entice predators).

How many varieties of vegetables are available at Whole Foods?

About 350 varieties of fruits and vegetables are available at Whole Foods, including seasonal items, like loquats, an apricotlike fruit grown principally in Japan, and Buddha’s Hand citron, a juiceless citrus fruit that is used principally for the zest of its rind, often used in garnishes or perfumes.

How many varieties of cheese can you buy at Whole Foods?

Whole Foods offers about 680 different types of cheese, from asiago to Zamorano.

What is the best-selling item at Whole Foods?

Overall, the best-sellers are prepared foods (precooked meals and snacks from the hot bar). Olives from the olive bar are the top-selling specialty item. The top-selling grocery item is Whole Foods Market’s in-house brand 365 Everyday Value bottled water for 49 cents.

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