Excited patrons began lining up just after 4 a.m. to be the first to walk through the doors of the new Whole Foods in Carrollwood.
But before they did that there was lots of revelry, food and fun to be had.
Today marked the grand opening of the 36,000-square-foot store at 3802 Northdale Blvd. The store specializes in natural and organic foods and puts an emphasis on sustainability.
A line of anxious would-be shoppers wrapped around the parking lot on Thursday morning in anticipation of the opening. They were treated to muffins, fruit, coffee and juice provided by Whole Foods.
"I think it's awesome. I think it's long overdue and an asset to the community," said Elle Hugenschmidt, a Forest Hills resident. "A lot of thought goes into what they buy and where they buy it from and they pass it on to the consumers."
The Gaither High School marching band and cheerleaders entertained the crowd prior to the opening. Local officials and community members welcomed the store to the neighborhood.
"Whole Foods is going to be a great partner for both our businesses and neighborhoods," said Maria Patterson, executive director of the Carrollwood Area Business Association.
The Carrollwood store marks the second location in Tampa and 351st globally, said Juan Nunez, president of Whole Foods Florida region.
Leading up to the grand opening Whole Foods held a series of sneak peek guided tours to customers with a suggested donation of $5 to benefit the Bob Sierra YMCA. On Thursday Nunez presented a $5,000 check to Rob Wiggins, vice president and executive director of the Bob Sierra location.
Afterwards store employees and community officials broke a huge piece of French bread (instead of cutting a ribbon) and welcomed guests into the store.
For the next four days, the store will donate 1 percent of net sales to the following charities. Today's featured charity is Hope Children's Home.
To learn which charity will be featured on which day, check the Whole Foods Carrollwood Facebook Page.