Things to get at the grocery store: raisins, maple syrup, bagels, rental car.

That could be your shopping list if you live in Austin, TX, where Whole Foods' "flagship" store just added four parking spaces for some of the Smart Fortwos in Daimler's Car2go car sharing program there. These spaces are not places where a rental car will always be avaiable to you, just a guaranteed place to park your shared car. Of course, if you do so, it might not be there when you're done shopping. As a Daimler spokesperson told AutoblogGreen:

Imagine you are one of the 15.000 Car2go members in austin: You are at home or at work and decide that you would like to go shopping at Whole Foods now or later. First of all, you could check one of our apps or our telephone hotline to find out whether a Car2go car is available near you. You can walk there and rent it spontaneously or you can book it 24 hours prior to use. Arriving at Whole Foods, you can either park the car2go at one of the public parking spaces around the building (free parking because of our agreement with the city) or - even more comfortable - inside the parking garage on our new designated spots which are marked by a sign and can be used by Car2go drivers only.

Same procedure when you are shopping: After shopping, you can check where the next available vehicle is located and just walk there. We cannot say yet whether there will always be a Car2go available in the parking garage because our vehicles are distributed by our members ("free floating not station based"). But we made a good experience with offering designated spots at the cities hotspots such as whole foods. We already received very positive feedback from our members. They are glad about the possibility to easily find a parking spot with a Car2go when arriving there AND to take a Car2go out of the store, in case a free one is available
.

We're pretty sure that if we're going to buy a lot of groceries, then we're going to want to make sure that the car we drove to the store is waiting for use when we're ready to go home. But apparently, some Car2go members like the new option.

[Source: Daimler]
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Whole Foods Market Austin Flagship Store and car2go Partner to Offer Convenient Mobility to Shoppers

January 20, 2011 (Austin, Texas) – Today, car2go N.A. LLC and Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) Lamar in Austin, Texas, announced that four car2go dedicated parking spots are now available at the natural and organic food retailer's flagship store at 525 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78703. Whole Foods Market shoppers and Team Members who are car2go members will now have the convenience of parking and sharing car2go vehicles.

"Whole Foods Market is committed to environmental sustainability and making a difference in our community," said Rebecca Scofield, Austin community relations coordinator for Whole Foods Market. "We believe that this partnership with car2go will support our continued dedication to our core values."
After thirty years of business, Whole Foods Market maintains its unique core values that include satisfying and delighting shoppers, supporting Team Member happiness, and caring about environment and community. In 2009, Whole Foods Market stores raised more than $3.5 million through their community giving days, an initiative where five percent of sales proceeds go to community nonprofits. The grocer has also been the recipient of the EPA's Green Power awards for the last four years for its efforts in accelerating the development of renewable energy capacity. Before partnering with car2go, Whole Foods Market had already made efforts to support alternative transportation with the addition of an electric vehicle charging station in April 2010.

Since their North American launch in November 2009, car2go has registered more than 15,000 members and has been working with several organizations and businesses within the Austin community to lay the groundwork for innovative transportation solutions. As one of these businesses, Whole Foods Market will now be able to offer its shoppers who are also car2go members the convenience of having car2gos at the market's doorstep. Members can rent the vehicles spontaneously without having to make reservations in advance and have the flexibility to return the car to any available public parking spot within the operating area.

"Whole Foods Market maintains a strong commitment to a sustainable future and we believe this partnership will reinforce that commitment," said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N.A. LLC. "car2go is honored to be associated with Whole Foods Market as they continue to provide environmentally sustainable alternatives for their shoppers and employees."

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