Whole Foods has had quite the ride.
CEO and co-founder John Mackey took it from a small natural foods store in the hippie haven of Austin, Texas to an international behemoth. It was only 10,500 square feet with 19 employees.
But the idea of natural food stores was only beginning, and as one of the first in the country, the seed that Mackey planted blossomed.
Through acquisitions of natural food stores around the country, though, the chain became larger and larger and had ambitious growth plans, but was also humbled a few times in its history.
Before being purchased by Amazon for $13.7 billion, Whole Foods weathered financial downturns and FTC probes as it grew into the US’ largest natural grocery chain.
Now that it’s owned by Amazon, a new chapter is about to begin. Plenty has been said about what might change for the chain now, but it’s also important to see what has changed for the chain in the past.
We’ve put together a timeline with some of the most important moments in Whole Foods’ history.
In 2017, an activist hedge fund, Jana Partners, purchased a stake in the chain, shuffled the board, pushed it to lower prices to better compete with more mainstream chains.
Mackey, in an interview with Texas Monthly, let loose saying “Yes, we need to evolve,” adding: “We need to get better, and we’re doing that. But these guys just want to sell us, because they think they can make forty or fifty percent in a short period of time. They’re greedy bastards, and they’re putting a bunch of propaganda out there, trying to destroy my reputation and the reputation of Whole Foods, because it’s in their self-interest to do so.”
Source: Texas Monthly