Valerie says ...
Dear John, I know you probably won't remember me, but I was the food buyer at Prana House when you and Renee started "Safer Way" Foods. Regarding your financial challenges in your first year, I remember that you learned quickly the difficulties in succeeding while trying to offer something unique in the market. I'll never forget your anger when I bought bananas for Prana House during the store's opening week. Seems they were offered below your cost in order to attract customers. Little did I know! I'm glad you and Renee succeeded. I enjoy shopping at Whole Foods. I love the atmosphere in the store - it reminds me of Austin, even when I am shopping in Dallas. However, I am concerned that Whole Foods may have strayed from its original intent. I would like to see more local and organic products, even if there is loss of variety. My priority would be local, organic and sustainable practices, with minimal transportation. That said, I still prefer Whole Foods Market. While it may not be perfect, it is still way above the typical grocery chain which offers few products that are not highly processed and offers little or no service. Please tell me that Whole Foods won't be going to self serve check out! Belated congratulations. Valerie Dalton
01/30/2006 10:37:40 PM CST
Elaine of Reno says ...
Wow, I am so impressed to find a large company that believes in the same philosophy as me. So often the bottom line is $'s and forget who gets you there, the customers and the employees. Being the owner of two service oriented companies, I know that it is 'Customers First', or you will soon be out of business. I am looking forward to a store opening here soon, so that I may see what these stores are all about.
03/27/2006 11:37:25 AM CST
Wendy Achatz says ...
Hi John, I loved reading your interview. (out loud to my vegan teenage daughters). Eight years ago my kids were the only vegetarians in their school- now they have ‘turned on’ dozens of others to more than just vegetarianism. They lead by quiet, peaceful, non-condemning example. Just like your business. W.F.M. has been a great example to us and how we run our business. (Although we have a long way to go.) We provide your stores in the Mid-west with our great pies. In 1998 your buyers helped to educate us on the dangers of hydrogenated oils. Since then my husband and I formulated our own blend of all natural shortening. We feel this has helped us to improve our product and has opened our eyes to other dangerous things that do not belong in the human food chain, like high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, colorings, bleach, G.M.O.’s etc… As a food producer I thank you for being a great business example and modeling responsibility. I also thank W.F.M. for purchasing our pies and keeping 80 plus Achatz Handmade Pie employees working and hundreds of Michigan farmers as well! Wendy Achatz- Co-Founder- Achatz Handmade Pie Co.
04/30/2006 4:11:11 PM CDT
Nick Wilson says ...
John, this may sound like a weird and blunt question, but would you have any interest in being the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 2008? You seem to be one of very few libertarians that could be taken seriously enough by the public and the media to give the party a good showing. Not only that, but I think you could clear up a lot of misconceptions about libertarianism, and change the course of the LP, which will remain a hopeless cause until we get candidates with background and serious name recognition. Whole Foods is widely recognized as a good and well-run business, and your story about how you became a libertarian would resonate with small and big business owners around the world (including myself), and with the public. Personally, I'm very dissatisfied with the LP - it's too radical and the party establishment often shuns those who are not as radical as them. I'm part of the Libertarian Reform Caucus (http://www.ReformTheLP.org), which is working to make the party become a real political party, with realistic solutions and practical reforms that could turn the LP into a sellable product. Check it out if you are interested. You sound a bit disatisfied with the movement as well. Anyway, seriously, you should seriously consider a candidacy in 2008. Thanks for your time (and for your great business).
06/02/2006 1:30:53 AM CDT
Menno Troyer says ...
Hi John, My name is Menno Troyer. I am the Libertarian Party candidate for State Representative, Florida House District 69. First I want to say that I, too, would really like to see you running as the LP candidate for president in 2008. The LP needs someone who brings fresh vision to the Party, and has a message that will resonate with the masses. I am a hardcore Libertarian who is strongly opposed to any attempt at diluting the classic LP platform, but I do believe that we need to start over by focusing on issues that the people care about the most, and present the Libertarian answers to those issues in a compelling way. Please consider running in 2008. You have this classic Libertarian's vote! I have to say your views are quite refreshing and thought provoking. Thanks to you, I am now beginning to understand for the first time how a business can and should focus on a variety of objectives rather than just long-term profits, without hurting long-term profitability, in fact enhancing it. Thank you for sharing your enlightened views.
06/12/2006 11:32:16 PM CDT
Tammie Umbel says ...
Hello Mr. John: This is quite an impressive interview. I must say that I agree with most of what you had to say. We live and learn. My company does the best it can for the benefit of everyone. However, in order to do so we must apply certain business formulas that others might misunderstand. Obviously the price that we pay for most products today are farce. And it is very difficult for a natural skin care company with goods made in the US to compete with a lot of the cheap chemical stuff coming out of China. We have a lot of room left to grow. PS. I shop at one of your stores all the time. As a mother of 11 young children, can we have like a buyers club or something? Tammie Umbel, CEO Shea Terra Organics www.sheaterraorganics.com
06/19/2006 8:53:27 AM CDT
Barbara Durfee says ...
I have shopped at Whole Food while living in Texas. Of course John, you believe in capitalism. You have created a store with excellent products that I and most people I know can not afford to purchase on any regular basis at your stores. What middle class family can possibly afford to do so? More and more, day by day capitalism, especially noted in the alternative health care industry and whole food business, subjugates the lower and middle class to inferior products that endanger our health. BTW, if I need vitamins the last place I shop is Whole Foods, Wild Oats and the like. Anyone who does throws their money away. Internet shopping is where its at for value.
11/28/2006 5:39:52 PM CST
Ken Dryden says ...
When I invest I do so as if I am buying the entire business and the CEO is working directly for me. When I read his responses here I am proud of the guy who is running my business ... but I am dismayed at the ignorance displayed in some of the comments above. Clearly there are still people in the world who forget that adults are capable of making their own decisions about where to spend their money and because of that, Whole Foods can not force another business to fail without the local community voting with their dollars in an overwhelming way for that result. - Ken Dryden http://racestreet.org
12/13/2006 4:00:46 AM CST