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Whole Foods Market in 2008 Case Study

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COMPANY BACKGROUND Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin, Texas, when four local businesspeople decided the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format. Their founders were John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, owners of Safer Way Natural Foods, and Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery. The original Whole Foods Market opened in 1980 with a staff of only 19 people. It was an immediate success. At the time, there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States. It has grown in leaps and bounds since then. Today, they are the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 310 stores in the North America and the United Kingdom (About Whole Foods Market). During its 31-year history, Whole Foods Market has been a leader in the natural and organic food movement across the United States, helping the industry gain acceptance among growing numbers of consumer concerned about the food they eat (Thompson, Strickland, & Gamble, 2010, p.C-2). The company seeks out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintains the strictest quality standards in the industry, and has an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add that to the excitement and fun they bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what they are all about. John Mackey, the company’s cofounder and CEO, believes that Whole Foods’ rapid growth and market success has much to do with its having “remained a uniquely mission-driven company—highly selective about what we sell, dedicated to our core values and stringent quality standards and committed to sustainable agriculture” (Thompson, et al., 2010, p.C-2). Mackey’s vision was for Whole Foods to become an international brand synonymous not just with natural and organic foods but also with being the best food retailer in every community in which...

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