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Whole Foods Market: It’s Organic Essay

1648 words - 7 pages

John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, the co-founders of the current Whole Foods Market, simply wanted to provide quality healthy food to the American consumer. This was about three decades ago when the first store opened. According to Mackey, making money was not the first priory, but helping people to eat better was. Happily for Mackey and Lawson, the residents of Austin Texas were hungry, no pun intended, for just this type of product. At the time, though there were several small independent healthy food stores, there was not a full sized grocery store. This is what set Mackey and Lawson apart from their competitors, their enormous sized health food grocery store was a huge success and now Whole Foods Market (WFM) is not only a household name, but is recognized as a leader in providing healthier choices for today’s families.
Mackey and Lawson, a young couple, twenty-five and nineteen borrowed forty-five thousand dollars from their friends and family to open the grocery store Safer Way. This name sounds familiar because it is a play on the name of the major grocery store retailer at the time Safeway Foods. Mackey and Lawson food alternative retail location was a vegetarian store and their suppliers were local farmers (Collins, 2013). With no money for living expenses, Mackey and Lawson lived on the third level of their commercially zoned grocery store, a converted three story house. This couple met when they were part of a grocery co-op. Mackey feels if he had not been a part of this co-op and introduced to healthier eating becoming a vegetarian that WFM might not have happened (Collins, 2013). Two years after Safer Way opened their doors, Mackey and Lawson merged their store with another similar food conscious store Clarksville Natural Grocery with its owners Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, and this resulted in the opening of the first Whole Foods Market on September 20, 1980 (Whole Foods Market History, 2014). This foursome invested in a market that some thought would not survive because of the eclectic food types, catering to upper income individuals, and the higher food prices. However, history proved differently.
Whole Foods Market’s first retail location was in Austin, Texas. Today there are 342 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The growth of this health conscious conglomerate happened over the years by strategic acquisitions of profitable independent stores throughout United States. Mackey’s idealism and respect is exhibited in his openness about the contributions of these retailers to the success of WFM, as the website provides an in depth summary of each acquisition and its contribution to promoting healthier food choices (Whole Foods Market History, 2014). After four years in Austin, Texas WFM branched out into the city of Houston when it purchased the Whole Foods Company, and shortly after, on the west coast, a new store was built in Palo Alto, California. Subsequently WFM began aggressive acquisitions...

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