Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin, Texas, when three local businessmen decided the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format. Our founders were John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, owners of Safer Way Natural Foods, and Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery. The original Whole Foods Market opened in 1980 with a staff of only 19 people. It was an immediate success. At the time, there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States. We have grown by leaps and bounds since our first store opened.
Whole Food Company (WFC) opened its doors in New Orleans in October 1974. Its mission was to be a grocery store featuring good, wholesome food; not a “health food” store filled with pills and potions. Sales doubled each year for the first four years. By 1978, the store (only 1100 square feet) was doing more than $1 million per year. Success was fueled by a committed staff who were all stockholders in the company.
In 1981, WFC opened a larger store on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans. WFC became the largest outside customer of Texas Health Distributors, the wholesale division of Whole Foods Market. In May of 1988, the Esplanade store became the sixth Whole Foods Market. © 2007 Whole Foods Market.