Leonard Green & Partners

I’m really excited to announce that Leonard Green & Partners has invested $425 million in Whole Foods Market (a 17% percent ownership). We are pleased that Leonard Green, one of the most experienced and successful investors in the retail industry, has decided to make such a significant investment in our company.  We view this as a strong vote of confidence in our business model and our long-term growth prospects, despite the tough current economic environment.  This equity infusion, combined with our strong cash flow from operations, gives us the financial flexibility to manage through these difficult times while continuing to prudently invest in our long-term growth as we remain committed to our mission and core values. For my further thoughts, check out this video.

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127 comments

Comments

Miss M says …

John Mackey has great ideas! I do think that individuals should watch their intake of unhealthy foods. Prevention is 100% better than to wait for the doctor to tell you that you have a disease that has been created by the high fat and high sugar food consumption. Obamacare seems to want to tax people to provide healthcare to everyone but we need to solve some of the "root" issues or else taxing will never be enough ever. It is like having a water bucket with a hole in it. We all need to be responsible. Eating food with pesticides is more likely to cause diseases than other foods. Thank John Mackey for bringing those to your gorcery store! John Mackey voiced his thoughts and I am glad his had the courage!

Madeline says …

Thank you for your thoughtful ideas about health care. I do shop at whole foods and am always treat with kindness. You have some great ideas please keep up the good work. This bashing coming from the left will pass as soon as they have someone else to blame for their pathetic plan. God speed

Diane M. says …

I think it's great that you presented such ideas about health care reform. I wish more people were opened minded and didn't just adhere to the party line. I've always supported Whole Foods and will continue to.

Eddie A McCoy CPA says …

A real breathe of fresh air. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a loyal Whole foods customer and business person who could not agree more...Fix it, but don't make it another failed Washington program that CANNOT be turned back once started. I am 63 so i take rationing or limiting health care based on age personally and the possible cuts to Medicare and Social Security an insult to the years of citizen contributions. I would never count on any one of the above programs, but many other citizens do. When it is comprimised by uncaring Washington elected officials who now say they were sent there by us but that we have a representative system of Govornment not a democracy and they can vote for what they think is in the best interest of his/her constiuents. Bunk I hope the protestors are unsuccessful in hurting your company and image...No effect here..Going tomorrow just because!!

allen liffman says …

Dear Mr.Mackey: As I am the originator and owner of what some might see as a controversial enterprise. I have been entrepreneurial throughout my whole business life and find my self in full agreement with many of your views regarding the "win win" concept of the true free market. I must confess that while i live less than less than 2 blocks from your Houston Street location , I typically shop elsewhere. That being said , I will now make it a point to shop at Whole Foods as a small gesture of support for , at least in this matter, your voice as a good corporate citizen offering up both opinion and solution. The reactionary, narrow minded, tunnel vision weenies who are promoting the misguided "Chinese fire drill " boycott of your business ( neither your stock or your bottom line seems to have been greatly affected) demonstrate that they follow of the most obvious of brown shirt storm trooper mentalities while i support their right to express opinion I denounce their intent to silence & punish those that do not lock step with the "Obananomics" that are suffocating the free market. While, of course, free speech, boycotts, groups mobilization are instruments of a free democracy and our Republic..those that denounce your positions and your right to express them fail where you succeed. Your story and your actions are almost pure expression of the true "American Thing" to have an idea and come up with a way to make it real and successful......what those that motivate the boycott do not understand is that to disagree is not to be evil ( which always seems to be the liberal lefts position) moreover you not only disagree in a a civil and thoughtful fashion you follow through where they do not as you also offer a reasonable and fair minded answer to counter the position they follow blindly. Bravo Sincerely Allen Liffman \ CollectionLiquidators.Com

Zel Canter says …

This boycott for speaking out, especially with a constructive and thoughtful suggestion is just dispicable. Shutting down debate and attempting to punish someone for exercising their right to speech is a facist tactic. I wish I could aid you in some way, but I can't think of how. You nearist store is nearly 100 miles away or I'd spend my food dollars supporting you. Courage. Truth wins out. These protestors are cowards who get their nerve is from the mob.

M. Cushman says …

We are frequent Whole Foods shoppers and will continue to be. John Mackey's Op/Ed piece on Health Care Reform is right on target. It's refreshing to see a CEO speak up with real ideas. This whole Hope-y Change-y mood of the current leadership and its ideas are bankrupting our formerly prosperous nation. Health Care Reform is not about health care for all, its about control of the citizens. If the health care plan they want all of us to have is sooo good...why do Congress and the President not have to join it? Read the bill, that's what it says.

risingdamp666 says …

Mr Mackey has plenty of goods ideas to offer here about many subjects. His views on healthcare are quite good but there are elements that are missing. No big deal. If he was a healthcare genius, he'd be running hospitals not a supermarket chain. Lots of tasty, healthy things at Whole Foods this week. I'm stopping in!

K Wildman says …

Mr. Mackey, Cudos to you for making your opinion known and using your right to free speech. I am overwhelmingly supportive of your views on health care reform and will continue to patronize Whole Foods here in Sonoma County, No. Calif.

k. amon says …

I commend you for coming forward with a very good idea. It is sad that some would try to punish you and your stores for voicing your suggestions and responding to the question Obama asked. From what I am seeing, there is no discussion, polite or otherwise, possible on Health "insurance" Reform. The government wants to control this and hints it will do so with or without the approval of the majority of Americans. Hopefully, more will speak out despite those who seek to silence our concerns and opinions. In the meantime, I am your customer for life. Hats off!

marty says …

I don't have a problem with what he has said. The issue I have had with insurance in this country is cost and the service you get. I am a small business owner and have insurance through my wife's employer. my partner had to stop his $500.00+ per month insurance because it didn't cover that much and had high deductibles. For what insurance I get now (which is good) costs about $1000.00 a month with the employer subsidizing most of it. It the eight rules above were in place at what point (cost) would we find acceptable. What services would we get? ( I believe that there should be a basic plan (like cable) that everybody would have. This would involve "somebody" (private group or Gov) to set the basic list or plan. There would be extra payment for more services. This would be like the "British" plan but no lines. We can look at other countries and see what they do and apply them and make them better or more suited to what we want. Please don't get hung up on my comment on a British paln. One thing is certain healthcare in America will change. Both Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and conservatives agree on that. Look at what you pay now (company subsidized) and then call your insurance company and get a quote for the same plan if you walked in off the street. In 1990 my costs were $40/month for a family that same plan walking in off the street would have been $960/month. You do you math.

vania says …

hello mr john mcclaw i m form brasil i lives americana sao paulo i think i need several food american i likes potatoes chips and tomatos and several food american x burguer but i think i couldnt this moment i have a lot because i m jail mr chairman globo tv mr roberto irineu marinho this men send jail every day adress globo tv rue doctor chuicri zaidan 46 morumbi at sao paulo sp

Phil says …

How is selling out to profit driven investors good news? Surely if this Founder CEO wanted to change the world he would have given Whole Foods to his staff or created a consumer co-op (a BBC poll named John Lewis England's greatest businessman of all time - he gave his huge department store chain to his staff and its booming) Instead WF's would rather link up with the stock market and mix with a level of greed which has brought the world to its knees!

Rebecca Williams says …

Dear Mr. Mackey: Bravo for your stand. We enjoy shopping at your store in Overland Park although we don't buy a great deal each time we come. My husband is going to the 912 event in Washington DC. I hope he can get through the message of the American people who want to remain independent of the government; the ones who feel they can still make it on their own without the government dole. We will not stop supporting your store. Thank you for what you do for your employees also.

H Kosturos says …

Dear Mr. Mackey: Congratulations on your reasoning skills. Our country is in desperate need of health care reform. However, the government proposed health care plan is not the answer. I feel sorry for the people who choose to boycott Whole Foods. It is their right. Unfortunately, it is also their loss. I have been a frequent shopper of Whole foods for many years and will continue to do so.

Cody says …

Mr. Mackey, I thought your Op Ed piece was well thought out and articulate. Thank you for having the courage to state your opinion. I have been a WF customer for many years and will continue to patronize your store. No amount of boycotting or protesters will stop my family!

Rita Bonasera says …

Mr. Mackey, Thank you for your Op Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal and for having the courage to state your opinion on health care reform. I have been a customer of WF for years and will continue to do so. No protesters will prevent me from shopping there!

Karen says …

Is there a reason one cannot view comments or post a comment on Mr. Mackey's piece about how we don't need healthcare reform? Seems kinda fishy that those comments cannot be accessed, maybe its just my computer. In any event, as a former Whole Foods exclusive shopper, I am proud to say that not only do I not shop there anymore, now, neither does anyone else I know. Good luck with your store.

Linda Mullin says …

Hi, I like what you said and wrote, and I am in agreement with you. Way to go, I admire your writing regarding this and I am glad you said what you did, continue to speak out. I have bought food from your stores but not that often because there is not any close to me. I will try to buy more often from Whole Foods. Sincerely yours, Linda P Mullin

Sean Walton says …

I am boycotting Whole Foods because it's now clear what ideology shopping at Whole Foods supports. This country spends more on health care and gets less than most other advanced countries. If you disagree with that you are denying reality. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

Frank Toscano says …

John, you said what the majority of the country is feeling. Don't let the the loud fringe, and they are the fringe, intimidate you.

s. fields says …

Thank God there is a person and a corporation out there that is willing to speak up and support what has made this country great. I saw that in college you were a social democrat but then realized that the free market is the only way to sustain and grow real wealth. Most the large corps and wealthy individuals are scard of the O Administration and his henchmen. Good for you.... I used to shop whole Food regularly now I will make it an exclusive.

Emily Ziegler says …

Mr. Mackey, Although I agree with 2 of your 8 points, I feel, after reading the rest of your article, I will sell my Wholefoods stock tomorrow.

Tracy says …

Dear Mr. Mackey: Bravo! I will not take the time to reiterate all the positives that have been said nor will I take the time to refute the negatives. I will simply tell you that although I have not always shopped at WholeFoods..basically due to prices...I have begun shopping there now. I pledge to you along with many of my friends and family to buy items at your stores as often as possible going forward. Please od not back down...let your voice and ideas be heard. I applaud your efforts and thoughtful alternative options to our health care crisis. Sincerely, Tracy M. Watson North Andover, MA

Clint Nelson says …

Mr. Mackey, I thought your article was very good. In fact, I thought you were right on. As you stated poor American health is the root of our health care problem. Whole Foods could stand to gain from a change in America's eating habits. This is the first reply I have ever left and the reason I am doing this is because I just got done watching Bill Patterson babble his way through the segment on CNBC. You have got to be kidding me. I am not a Whole Foods shopper (your closest store is 20 min away) but I am going to make a point of shopping in the Roseville, CA store until there is one in Lincoln, Ca. This is what I wrote to CNBC; Dear CNBC I am an avid CNBC listener and I believe free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity but I can’t believe the pounding John Mackey is receiving from you today. I would think CNBC would be putting John Mackey on a pedestal for his beliefs. I read the Wall Street Journal article John Mackey wrote and I felt like he has given a more detailed blueprint for healthcare reform than President Obama. Americans are obese and John Mackey outlines how we can obtain a healthy weight as a nation. DO YOUR HOMEWORK if you don’t believe a primarily plant-based diet will prevent many of the costs that we inflict on the health care system. Share Holders should love John Mackey. Whole Foods stands to gain market share if Americans choose a more healthy diet. I don’t shop at Whole Foods currently but I will make a point of driving an extra 20 minutes to my neighboring town and buy my produce from Whole Foods in support of John Mackey. Hello, has anyone read the last paragraph… "Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.” Monday night countdown has a segment called C’mon man. C’MON CNBC Sincerely, Clint Nelson Lincoln, California

Jacob Metzger says …

I support you, Mr. Mackey, and your RIGHT to your opinion. Do not back down on your Constitutional guarenteed Freedom of Speech. May God Bless you, personally and Whole Foods, as a company. Sincerely, Jacob Mmetzger

Nancy Metzger says …

I support you for standing up for your beliefs. That is what this country was founded on, and if we have lost them, we are no longer free. Nancy Metzger

Jacob Metzger says …

I support you Mr. Mackey and since my previous comment was not published, I will try once again to express my Free Speech. Continue to express your opinions and beliefs, as we are guarenteed in this country. Sincerely, Jacob Metzger

PJ says …

Bravo! Bravo! I will certainly promote Whole Foods at every opportunity. Thank goodness someone with prominence stood up and voiced an opinion shared by the majority of Americans. My family will buy items at Whole Foods as often as possible. I applaud your honesty; I’m sure it isn’t easy but the American people who agree with you will stand beside you if necessary. Thanks to you and your people!!!!

mike m bel air, md says …

I have never purchased a single item from one of your stores, but after the last few days of the lunacy from the left, I am stopping by the store in Mt Washington, Md and buying a weeks worth of groceries. I don't think I've ever eaten health food before. The idiots protesting Mr mackey's position on healthcare outside your stores is as ridicoulous as some of the things they have said on the other blogs herein. Idon't even know if I agree with him on each point, but I know he has a right to say it and he as much of a right to say it from his office as some big Pharm or Insurance (AARP) from their office. One of the loons said he did not speak out about torture of prisoners. All I have to say about this is that my son-in-law was in Afghanistan and if captured he said he would prefer to be water boarded all day long than their current method of interrogation-BEHEADING on camera. Grow up or shut up, well just grow up I don't want to stop free speech, but free speech should require some intelligent thought, upto now that has not been a requirement. Mike M Bel Air, MD

Samantha says …

Thank you for standing your ground. As for Sean's comment. Please show me ANYWHERE that it states that health care is a right. The only thing that is a right to Americans is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You are alive and live in this great county so there's your first two. As for the last. It is up to you to make your own happiness. If health care is one then you have the right to buy some.

Darcy Tomaszewski says …

Here! Here! Thank you for standing up for what is right in this country. I hope others will follow your example. I plan to shop at Whole Foods to demonstrate my full support for you and your company.

Kim says …

I have not been a regular shopper at Whole Foods. However, as Mr. Liffman stated, I am making it a point to visit my local Whole Foods now. I have also shared this with many of my friends. I see from some of the comments in support of the boycott that they obviously did not read your article (e.g., claiming you have denied a need for healthcare reform). Too bad people have to get mad over your expressing some new ideas instead of focusing on all the good you and your company do.

Lynn LeBaube says …

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.....the founder has common sense, values and appreciate your conservative values. I'm am sick of the delusional/lying liberals who want everyone to pay for healtcare....the liberals have already ruined our country by their lack of knowledge and ignorance. liberals believed everyone is entitled and no that's not how it works...especially when liberals and so called victims believe their should be a chicken in every pot (no need to work) because everybody should bow down because they are right...WRONG...dead wrong. Your values are wrong everything about liberals is NOT American. Unions are the idiots who have also driven this country...last time I checked when someone tells you how to vote...that's communionism. The word union makes me want to vomit...again they also are unamerican. Thanks again for the conservative values that have we have been blessed with in this country. liberals take obama,pelosi,the lowlife congress, the news media, kennedy, and the unions and please go to russia where your values will be appreciated. Guess what it's NOT all about you...liberals. And YES alot of CONSERVATIVES shop at your store and will continue to do so.

Lynn LeBaube says …

Healthcare is NOT a right read the Constitution liberal

Lynn says …

Healthcare is NOT a right...read the Constitution. And that's is exactly what i mean about lack of knowledge.

Aden says …

Regardless of whether it's your opinion or not you as CEO are inseparable from Whole Foods both in speech and in conduct. In the future please keep your opinions to yourself and your inner circle. I doubt this comment will be published but it's worth a try.

T. North says …

Thank You John! There will be no boycotting of Whole Foods in our family! We will remain a loyal customer of your OP,KS (Metcalf) store, although it is no short journey to shop there, 52 mile round trip. I know there are no immediate plans to open a Whole Foods in Clay/Platte County Missouri, but you would surely be a welcome and I'm sure a successful neighbour there! See ya'

Marcia Baracaldo says …

THANK YOU. I USED TO HATE YOUR COMPANY AFTER YOU BOUGHT WILD OATS. I HATE IT BECAUSE DURING THE ELECTION THE BLACK EMPLOYEES WERE ALL RUDE TO CONSERVATIVE CUSTOMERS DOWN HERE IN MIAMI. I ONLY EAT ORGANIC, I AM AN HERBALIST, AND I STOPPED SHOPPING AS MUCH AS I USED TO DO IN THE WILD OATS. MY HOUSEHOLD: ORGANIC RICE, ORGANIC BEANS, ORGANIC GREEK YOGURT, ORGANIC GREEN, ORGANIC FRUTS, ORGANIC EVERYTHING. ORGANIC GRANOLAS, GLUTEN FREE WHOLE GRAINS, ORGANIC NUTS, ORGANIC JARS OF FRUIT JUICES. HERB EXTRACTS, VITAMINS, PROBIOTICS, FISH OILS, FLAX, .... I WAS ONE OF YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS..... NOW, I AM SAD BECAUSE OF THE EVIL BLACK EMPLOYEES I DON'T SHOP IN THERE AS OFTEN AND I HAVE TO BUY HERB, VITAMINS, WHOLE GRAINS ECT... OVER THE INTERNET..... THANKS FOR YOUR HEALTH CARE COMMENTS. YOU GREW YOUR BUSINESS AND I TRUST ON YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

Barbara Trent says …

Thank you for your bravery and honesty, as far as Health Care. On Tuesday, I WILL be shopping at your store for the first time, and I will continue to do so on a regular basis!

D DeWeese says …

I support your right to free speech, but will not patronize your store anymore. Someone has to take a stand and realize health care in this country is broken. Health food can help, but if one is unfortunate enough to be injured in a motor vehicle accident, fat lot of good an organic banana (or any organic food) will do to solve the problem. I 'vote' with my wallet and not on the side of insurance companies or their corporate cronies.

Deborah says …

Thank you. We need business people from all sectors to tell the truth about the health care reform bill. The pharmaceutical companies have been bought off and are as usual lying to the American people. Thank you for telling the truth. I plan to begin driving the extra distance to Whole Foods and will ask my friends to begin shopping there too.

Linda says …

I'm amazed at any negative responses to your comments. I read each word and didn't see anything offensive. Our government has not proven to be proficient at managing ANY program and I don't believe they would do any better with healthcare. They can't even manage medicare or medicaid! It seems many people do not want to assume responsibility for their lives. I heard a lot of screaming about sacrificing personal rights for the sake of security after 9/11 but many appear anxious to allow the Government to dictate what, when and where their healthcare happens (if they allow it to happen at all). My husband and I went out of our way to shop at Whole Foods this weekend and will continue to do so. I have always loved shopping at Whole Foods but it is not convenient as it is pretty far from our home. We will make sure we shop there as often as possible. Even if my political views differed from yours, this is still America and Americans still have freedoms - for speech as well as opinions. I would respect your right to your opinion without judging you.

Lee says …

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Mackey. It is a shame that in this day and age we are experienceing reverse racism against our thoughts, our beliefs, and a stand against socialistic minded followers. it seems that we are no longer a society of educated individualists. If you don't agree with the crowd you will be stoned.

Thomas Flanegan says …

Dear Sir, Thank you for your rational comments. The recent public outcry against Whole Foods is a typical response by the American public, and as usual, it is misinformed and manipulative. In the past I have not consistantly shopped at Whole Foods, but that will change. I am making a statement on my own regarding your comments on Health Care, and my statement is that I agree with YOU. Stay Strong My New Friend, Tom Flanegan

Mark says …

I shopped for the first time in your store in Columbus Ohio, loved it, and will be a regular from this point on. Keep up the good work, ignore the haters.

SUSIE STEWART says …

THANK YOU!!!! Alway stand up for what you believe in. I don't really have a whole foods store real close, but I can be to one in about 20 mins. You best believe that's where I'll be heading tomorrow to do our grocery shopping. I personally found your ideas to be far better then that piece of crap that Congress is trying to jam down our throats. Stay strong and don't let those cry babies get you down. I hope their boycott has the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve. I know 1 more person that WILL GLADLY be shopping at your foodstore thanks to the boycotters. RIGHT ON!!

Robert Hartmann says …

I applaud your decision to share your beliefs regarding the topic of health care. I seldom frequent your business because of the distance from where I live, however, I will for the next year buy all my grocery at Whole Foods in support of your courage to speak out!

Catherine Michels says …

This is America. It is your right to give your opinion as a citizen. Frankly, I thought your article was insightful, and even if I didn't, would certainly not boycott Whole Foods. Go Whole Foods!

Charlene says …

I previously only knew of Whole Foods because of a co-worker who shops there regularly. I had never stepped foot into a Whole Foods store. After hearing of the "boycott" because Mr. Mackey exercised his freedom of speech, I will make it a point to shop at Whole Foods. Funny, isn't it? Those who desired to squash freedom of speech by a threat of boycott, are causing the exact opposite of what they intended. Whole Foods has one more new customer. You go Mr. Mackey.

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