Monday, December 15, 2008

We're Still Just Trying To Mind Our Own (Local) Business. Updated Monday 12-15

Here's the latest on our ongoing legal issue with Whole Foods. Remember, the crazy thing about this is that it has nothing to do with New Seasons Market. It's about Whole Foods defending their takeover of Wild Oats. We're not in any way a party to the lawsuit and don't have an opinion one way or the other about how it should be resolved.

As you probably remember, we had filed a “motion to quash” with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It asked that we not be required to turn over our private internal records to Whole Foods. (Here’s the link to my original blog post that explains the situation in detail.) Whole Foods then filed a response to our motion, attempting to justify why we should let them have our files. Here’s the link to the Whole Foods response.

Unfortunately, the tone in Whole Foods legal filing is quite different than the soothing words they’ve been posting on blogs and editorial pages around Portland and the rest of the country.

I’ll give you a couple of examples.

On the blogs they compliment us saying stuff like, “We know that New Seasons and many other fine natural foods stores are serving their customers well . . .” But, in the court filing they say we are, “smearing Whole Foods”.

On the blogs Whole Foods acknowledges the difficult situation they're putting us in and they say, "I know our subpoena represents a major cost in time and money for the New Seasons team. From our own direct experience, I know what it takes to provide this information, and I assure you we do not take the impact of this on New Seasons lightly.” But, in the court filing they continue to insist on access to our records and they say, “[the] burden to New Seasons would at most be slight” and “Confidentiality concerns raised by New Seasons are equally contrived”.

It’s not looking to me like Whole Foods is about to offer any kind of reasonable compromise soon.

Of course, the legal system being what it is, our attorneys have filed a response to the Whole Foods response. As usual, the lawyers are definitely making out! Here are the two links to the new motion our lawyers filed: Non- Party New Seasons Market Inc.'s. Motion for Leave to File Reply and Declaration of Robert Newell.

We expect a ruling from the FTC sometime soon and when we have it we’ll post it. In the meantime, I hope you’re finding the time to get outside and enjoy this amazing weather.


Anonymous said...

I like the fact that you're posting all of this information. It speaks well of New Seasons, and demonstrates that Whole Foods is up to their same ol' tricks.

mydogischelsea said...

Keep up the good fight!

Renee said...

I'm rooting for you guys! You are my favorite market and this is just another opportunity for you guys to continue showing the community your honesty and integrity.

A loyal NS Shopper said...

Oh New Seasons... how I love thee! :-) And oh how I wish you had a store in Gresham! Until then I will continue to travel all over the city to your beautiful stores to do my shopping! Keep up the good work!

New Seasons Luvva said...

Good job New Seasons! I hope you win this battle and that the Federal Trade Commission doesn't shut you down!

P. Rhiannon Griffith said...

I don't even live in Portland, I live in Albuquerque, but my daughter lives in Portland and now that I've heard what's happening to you guys even I am going to stop shopping at Whole Foods, out here in New Mexico! There's only one other place to get organic food here in town, but I'll start making the trek down there now. I'm disgusted with Whole Foods and I plan to tell everyone I know that they're just as bad as we all suspected. Karma, dudes...

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at your website because I love
New Seasons and read about the Whole Foods thing.
Goodness! Completely uncool of them - and how
terribly annoying for New Seasons. I am rooting for
you 200%

Confused in SW said...

Why is the Federal Trade Commission even suing New Seasons? I don't see how providing fresh, local foods is against any law...? Someone help me here. Do I need to be mad at George W. Bush? Will this be fixed when Barack Obama tries a delicious New Seasons Pink Lady Apple?

Anonymous said...

Just read the FTC judge ruled you must turn over the information to Whole Foods.


Breaking News: Judge Orders New Seasons Market to Comply With Whole Foods' Subpoena and Submit Sales Data, Financial Records and Other Trade Secrets

Any next moves Brian? Can you appeal this?

Anonymous said...

it seems weird that you'd claim that you can't figure out why WF is doing this, that you are somehow outside of the situation.

of course it totally blows for NSM, just as it does for WFM. hopefully the ridiculous move by the FTC is foiled by WFM's lawsuit and NSM will get some breathing room from WFM.

in the meantime, it would be great to have more of your derision pointed at the FTC rather than WF. cynically (?), i see this as a move initiated by Wal-Mart (i think the biggest organic retailer), influence peddling FTC-folk to make things difficult for everyone from WF on down.

anyway, best of luck to your market, i hope this sorts itself out quickly and doesn't cause too much pain.


Hanukkah said...

I often make the drive from Vancouver over to Portland to shop New Seasons - as I love the atmosphere, the employees and of course the produce! When I don't have the time (which is often now that I'm a new mom), I go to WF b/c they are very close to where I live. Please, please, please open a New Seasons store in Vancouver!!! I would so much rather support locally than waste my money at WF. After reading about this situation they've put you in, I'll make the drive more often to avoid having to go to WF. Good luck and you would have my 100% loyalty if and when you open a store in Vancouver, WA.