Whole Foods plans to open new Malibu store in future

Assistant News Editor & News Assistant

There’s some good news for health nuts: A Whole Foods Market is set to open in the Malibu Colony. The bad news is it won’t be open any sooner than two years from now.

The location for the health food store is at the corner of Cross Creek Road and Civic Center Way, where the former Papa Jack’s Skate Park was located. Gordon Ekstrand, owner of Cross Creek Ventures, owns the property and is the developer for the project. He approached Whole Foods about establishing a location in Malibu and said that it wasn’t easy to convince them to do so.

“They declined over and over again because of the lack of population in Malibu,” Ekstrand said. “It wasn’t easy to sell. But I tempted them with a seven-digit figure and lower rent.”

Ekstrand said he thinks that members of the Malibu community also had an impact on the decision to build the store.

“Factors beyond my control definitely helped,” Ekstrand said. “Influential people in the area know the CEO.”

Ekstrand went to his attorney’s office on Tuesday to finalize the contract with Whole Foods. He intends on applying for a permit from the city as soon as possible, and said he thinks the application process will take about two to three months.

Ekstrand and his crew will be working on plans and ideas for the time being but he said that it will be “a couple years before the store opens.”

Many Pepperdine students are thrilled about a health-food alternative to mainstream grocery stores like Ralph’s.

“Whole Foods is a supplier of supplements and health care, so it’s not just a grocery store overall,” said senior nutrition major Keiy Murofushi. “They have premade healthy vegan and vegetarian options, as opposed to Ralph’s.”

Ekstrand said having a Whole Foods in Malibu will benefit residents but not create too much competition for Ralph’s.

“I’m sure there will be some crossover because they are different types of stores,” Ekstrand said. “Ralph’s and Whole Foods offer different products, so it will benefit everyone.”

Malibu resident Annette Brown agrees and said she will shop at Whole Foods for certain specialty items only. Brown has lived in Malibu for the past year and usually shops at Ralph’s for most of her groceries.

“I obviously love Ralph’s, but I’ll probably shop at both places,” Brown said. “To me it’s exciting that there will be another grocery store.”

Dean Woodward, a five-year Malibu resident, said he plans on shopping at Whole Foods for a healthier vegetarian selection.

“I’m down [for Whole Foods],” he said. “Ralph’s and I are a relationship out of convenience.”

A Ralph’s manager on duty said his superior told him not to comment on the Whole Foods opening.