Whole Foods Didn't Really Open. It Just Looked Like It.

Passersby might have thought the Whole Foods store at 115 Mack Ave. opened Friday.

After all, the new location's parking lot was packed with neighborhood residents and downtown workers enjoying barbecued chicken and music from Southfield bluesman Paul Miles (right), even as seats were at times hard to come by and the chance of an afternoon storm loomed. 

In addition to promoting next week's debut, the event was about giving back to the community.

Those who came to enjoy the food, music and atmosphere were asked to donate $5 for the Good News Gang, a faith-based program for inner-city children.

"We work with inner-city youth by teaching them the gospel of Christ and then having a good time playing games," Good News Gang Executive Director Matt Cripps said. "We try to be a refuge of hope for these kids. Many of them come from unstable homes and environments."

The group focuses on instilling faith and keeping children away from drugs and violence by providing them a place to learn and have fun. Proceeds from Friday will help keep its buses running and will provide Christmas presents, Cripps said.

"I'm not exactly sure how they found us, but (Whole Foods) contacted us through Facebook," he added. "This is just great, though. The food smells great, too."

Whole Foods opens open Wednesday at 9 a.m.


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