It's our big 3-0 this month. What a crazy, fun ride since we opened that first store in Austin, Texas on September 20, 1980. In the following 30 years, we grew from 19 team members in one small store to more than 55,000 team members in nearly 300 stores in the U.S, Canada and the U.K. Wow! We hope you'll join us in celebrating three decades of offering the highest quality natural and organic foods and supporting organic agriculture, environmental stewardship and local producers. All 298 stores companywide are celebrating this milestone with parties and events from September 17-20. You're invited! Just visit your local store web page to learn about their 30th birthday festivities. You'll see a number of blog posts in the lead up to our actual birthday - sharing some fun facts and letting you know about special 30th birthday products from some of our long-time vendor partners. To kick it off, here are a few of the milestones and fun facts from our journey. 1980 Thanks to all the Beetles in the parking lot, people joke that it's hard to tell the difference between a VW dealer and the first Whole Foods Market store. 1981 The single Whole Foods Market store is severely flooded, the community rallies and helps begin the clean up, and then 12 Team Members work tirelessly to reopen within just 28 days. 1985 Whole Foods Market is already working to reduce the use of hazardous pesticides, and the Organic Trade Association is established, giving the organic movement new momentum. 1989 When we opened our first Whole Foods Market California store in 1989, no one showed up for the job fair. 1993 Since 1993, we've given back at least 5% of our after-tax profits to the community through quarterly 5% days as well as donations to non?profits and schools. 1997 Whole Foods Market introduces quality to value, releasing our first 365 Everyday Value® brand products. 1998 The first proposed National Organic Standards rule allows the use of GMOs, biosolids (sewage sludge) and irradiation in products labeled organic. We rally customers and team members in a successful store-based, letter-writing campaign and the rules are rewritten! 1998 Whole Foods Market makes the first FORTUNE magazine "100 Best Companies to Work For" list (and continues to make it year after year). 2003 Whole Foods Market becomes America's first National Certified Organic Grocer. 2004 As a result of an idea presented by team members, the Green Mission Task Force, concerned with addressing recycling and environmental issues company-wide, is created. 2008 On Earth Day, Whole Foods Market was the first U.S. supermarket to completely eliminate disposable plastic grocery bags to help protect the environment and conserve resources. Since then, it has kept 100+ million bags out of landfills. 2009 We add a 7th Core Value: Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education. 2010 Team member donations (via elective payroll deductions) to the Whole Planet Foundation hits more than $1.3 million, empowering more than 7,300 impoverished entrepreneurs to lift themselves out of poverty. You can find lots more on our 30th Birthday web page. Got a milestone for your journey with Whole Foods Market? We'd love to hear!