Whole Foods Market is the largest all natural and organic retailer in the world, with over 400 locations nationwide, over 80,000 employees worldwide, with a focus on development, organics and sustainability. WFM has been a consistent performer on the NYSE that believes in a shared fate for all their shareholders, which include their customers, their investors and their employees. Going forward WFM is looking to open 100 locations in the next 5 years in the US, the UK and Canada.
In 1978, twenty-five-year-old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one-year-old Renee Lawson (Hardy), borrowed $45,000 from family and friends to open the doors of a small natural foods store called SaferWay in Austin, Texas. When the couple got booted out of their apartment for storing food products there, they decided to simply live at the store. Since it was zoned commercial, there was no shower stall. Instead, they bathed in the Hobart dishwasher, which had an attached water hose. Beginning in 1984, Whole Foods Market began its expansion out of Austin, first to Houston and Dallas and then into New Orleans with the purchase of Whole Food Company in 1988. In 1989, they expanded to the West Coast with a store in Palo Alto, California. While continuing to open new stores from the ground up, they fueled rapid growth by acquiring other natural foods chains throughout the ’90s: Wellspring Grocery of North Carolina, Bread & Circus of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods Markets of Los Angeles, Bread of Life of Northern California, Fresh Fields Markets on the East Coast and in the Midwest, Florida Bread of Life stores, Detroit area Merchant of Vino stores, and Nature’s Heartland of Boston.
WholeFoods has a relationship with the Allegro Coffee Company, which helps develop WFM’s coffee program. Together they’ve brokered a relationship which has led to the development of sustainable partnerships with villages in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific Rim. Allegro Coffee is now a subsidiary of WFM that dovetails their commitment to sustainable agriculture and fair trade.
We are excited to begin this relationship with Whole Foods Market, and look forward to supporting each other in future endeavors!