Whole Foods — Flourishing at 25

Whole Foods Market’s 25th anniversary year has been nothing short of eventful.
In March, Whole Foods unveiled a “landmark” store and world headquarters in Austin, Texas, just blocks from where the company opened its doors as a neighborhood grocer in 1980.
Also in a positive vein, the chain continued its fast-track growth, opening stores in markets including Boston, Denver and Manhattan, not to mention two new stores in Louisiana, all while continuing to report strong earnings.
On a much more sobering note, however, Hurricane Katrina took a substantial toll on the natural foods chain, forcing the temporary closing of two New Orleans stores, one of which sustained severe damage. The new Baton Rouge store was relatively unscathed, however.
Whole Foods management has responded to the situation with grace, continuing wages of employees in the closed stores and providing relocation assistance to its affected employees. What’s more, the company contributed $1 million to the relief effort, in addition to rushing food to displaced hurricane victims less than 24 hours after Katrina hit!
Publix Stays the Course
Sometimes the path to long-term success doesn’t require rocket science. At Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets, the emphasis is on pleasing the customer — and has been for 75 years. Which no doubt has much to do with the fact that the chain is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year as a highly successful retail organization.
Industry watchers report that Publix deserves kudos for its strong vendor relationships. One example: The chain uses vendors’ promotional funds to actually move product and not merely to add to the bottom line, according to Warren Thayer, a commentator for www.Retailwire.com and editorial director/associate publisher of Confectioner’s sister publication, Refrigerated and Frozen Foods Retailer.