Friday, January 16, 2009

We're Finally Getting Back To Minding Our Own (Local) Business

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm always so impressed by the power of a united community. Because of all of the voices that chimed in from the Portland area and from all over the country, we've been able to bring the issue with Whole Foods to a resolution that works for us.

As you probably know, we've never taken a position on the dispute that Whole Foods has with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about their takeover of Wild Oats. We tried really hard to stay out of the crossfire of this fight, because it really has nothing to do with us. Obviously, we wish we weren't being forced to give any of our internal financial records to one of our competitors, but we're pleased that a compromise was reached. As part of the settlement, I promised not to disclose the actual terms of the agreement, but I can tell you that there is a big difference between what the original subpoena demanded and what we're going to actually turn over.

Thanks again for your help in protecting the future of New Seasons Market. We're excited about getting back to minding our own (local) business.


23 comments:

JB Becker said...

Great news!

Anonymous said...

Good!

I'm still boycotting Whole Foods.

It's just so clear that a big corporation is not the best for our food.

Renee said...

Glad you guys are happy with the compromise. Sure wish they hadn't wasted your time to begin with though. It was a nice reminder that, at the end of the day, Whole Foods is and very much acts like a large corporation.

Lisa M. Lynch said...

I'm glad New Seasons is content with the outcome. I so appreciate that a local business is not going to be bullied by a big corp.

Anonymous said...

Jusr read about the agreement in www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com

They have a link to your Blog statement.

So, just wanted to say glad you were able to works things out in the compromise.

Now, how about a "BIG New Seasons Supporters Appreciation" sale as a way to thank all who stood by you guys. Hot prices we need in this economy. Good marketing too.

This is the post link, by the way:
http://naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com/2009/01/retail-memo-breaking-news-portlands-new.html

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it was not as bad as it might have been.

There is no way that they can copy the soul of New Seasons.

Therefore they cannot edge you out competitively.

The soul of New Seasons is service and maximizing the good of all in happiness.

They could know all of your plans and not be able to copy you.

The means they used are not the way to copy your success.

I still lose my appetite when i think of Whole Foods. That will probably be so as long as i live. I have no desire and anticipate no need to set foot in that store for a loooooooong time, if ever.

I am not in favor of a celebratory sale. This has been hard on you. Just stay on an even keel.

I encourage New Seasons folks to breathe freely, take a break to destress, get more sleep, feel restored trust in the goodness of the universe, and of course, eat a healthy diet.

Everything can turn to good in the end.

May this happen soon and effortlessly.

Happiness, Health and Abundance for All!

Dandelion

Former New Seasons Shopper said...

So rather than just work towards an agreement, you had to make a big stink about how "big business" is oppressing the little guy (taking advantage of the situation to smear your competitors), and THEN work out an agreement so that you can make yourself out to be the triumphant David.

Nice marketing ploy, Brian. You sure know how to manipulate your base.

Anonymous said...

Hey there!
I'm a former employee and even though I've moved cities I still love you guys.
I only have two choices for natural food shopping down here in Bend, Whole Foods Market and Nature's General Store, and even though Nature's is a tiny little local store their prices are still SO MUCH lower than Whole Foods. Not to mention the difference is service quality.
You guys are the same way, there is nothing like a local store.
Thanks for everyone's hard work to keep it that way.

Oh and to the person before me, why the negativity? You obviously can say and think what you want, but for people who like to eat foods without poisons in them New Seasons is a gem. This store has a faithful fan base that will support the store regardless of what you claim are marketing schemes. Start reading the ingredients of the food you're eating and stop bitching.

FinandJessie said...

To the "Former New Seasons Shopper" - I am continually amazed at how some individuals are able to completely misinterpret the intentions of others. And in this particular situation, how someone is able to turn what was an effort at being good, grassroots, and fair into "manipulating your base." Amazing.

From this New Seasons Shopper, please know you will always have a *majority* of the community's support, and some people you'll just never be able to please... or understand.

Margaret McGilvra said...

Whole Foods could get chapter and verse about New Seasons, and it would make no difference. WF doesn't hold a candle to New Seasons, and they never will. WF is big, expensive, and yuppified. New Seasons is simply an awesome place to shop. You have a good selection of excellent food with friendly emloyees in a pleasant place to shop. I look forward to shopping at New Seasons. Thanks for being there! (I shop at the Interstate store).

Dire Wolf said...

Ever wonder what the name will be after the merger - Wal-Foods, or Whole-Mart?

There's so many similariteis between the two they might as well become one!

Anonymous said...

To all the Whole Foods haters...You guys don't know how well the company treats the employees, and there is a BIG difference between how major corporations treat their employees and how WF treats their team members.
It is repulsive to see the Portland community turn against WF team members. WF gives employees the opportunity and support to make a direct change in the local community. (and a lot of WF team members go to New Seasons because they support LOCAL business as well).All the money that doesn't go to WF directly hurts team members,not the CEO. A shame that the sanctimonious big wigs of New Seasons never once made a plea to leave team members out of the crossfires. So much for protecting local treasures, the people (New Seasons, Whole Foods, Food Front, People's,etc.) are the most precious of them all.

Anonymous said...

Having heard horror stories from former Whole Foods employees... oh, excuse me, team members, I can safely say that there are many who would disagree with the previous post about Whole Foods treating their employees well. Enough has been said about how well off New Seasons employees are; forget a team, it's a family.

To me, the stereotypical corporate jargon and propaganda dripping from this post, obviously made by a Whole Foodie, is "repulsive". How can anyone have sympathy for people who work for such a company of their own free will?

There are no victims on the Whole Foods team. It is the New Seasons family that has been victimized, and neither they nor the community that supports them will forget it.

adamharris said...

Brian, as a former employee and long time supporter I'm glad to hear this has been settled without having to turn over the extent of your business plans, or the extent of any profits on attorney fees. Although I appreciate the FTCs misguided effort to maintain competition by ensuring a non-cannibalistic marketplace, the particular avenue seems a bit fishy. I have to wonder if these same requests were given to comparable local chains in the other markets affected by this merger. And if so, would it behoove NSM to contact these other local businesses? NSM has always been extremely effective at network building, and it seems a united front may be a powerful way to (hopefully not) confront this next time. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I AM a Whole Foods employee. However, I live a block from the 7 corners New Seasons location. When I realize I need something else from the store I forgot to grab at work, I go to New Seasons. I'm used to supporting Local companies, because WFM works really hard to buy local product-So who cares if I shop at New Seasons too? Now I can't because New Seasons has hurt my feelings and a lot of people I work with. More than anything, it's all the Portlanders that don't know ANYTHING about what's going on and what information we needed. All we wanted to do was show the FTC that we are NOT a monopoly and other stores are doing just fine doing business alongside us. As a matter of fact, even though NS is local they are not technically a natural foods store. They carry some products from (oh no...) BIG chain companies that use horrible ingredients. Their quality standards just aren't the same as WF, People's or little ol' Wild Oats. Don't forget that WF and NS are competing with every grocery store. Not everyone is willing to shop locally and support organic farms. Most people still go to Fred Meyer and Winco because they want to save money. This is a battle we're all fighting together. Hopefully one day there will be more Organic/healthy market choices than any other. NS and WF pay the familys that grow our delicious food...Why hate a company that has the ability to do that globally? You hate us because we grew? That's so silly. Each WF in each different city has different products because they support local companies. We are trying to be part of a change in the way people eat and they way the nation is choosing to grow food. Instead of whining your asses off about us turning into WALMART, be happy you have stores like WF and NS to shop in. Be part of the solution to creating a world that can provide natural healthy food to anyone, anywhere. Get your head out of Portland so you can see the big picture, and while you're doing that I'll be happy that I still have a full time job-at Whole Foods.

Devyn said...

I am also excited to hear that you have managed to reach an acceptable compromise.

New Seasons has distinguished itself from Whole Foods in so many ways that I have no doubt that the two companies can coexist without posing a serious threat to each other. New Seasons sets itself apart with its mix of products, emphasis on service, reasonable prices, and focus on the local community. Whole Foods wins props for its vast selection of natural and organic products and its powerful national influence in regards to the organic movement.

New Seasons is still my favorite place in the world. I hope to see you prosper and thrive, and I hope that Whole Foods comes to understand the value of healthy, competitive coexistence and leaves you guys alone.

Joshua said...

To the not surprisingly anonymous whole foods team member, if you simply take the time to look through some of the past replies to posts in these blog threads, you will find that the CEO of New Seasons Market in fact DID make a direct plea not to take this situation out on the employees of Whole Foods in our community. He pointed out that they are also members of our community trying to work to support their families & that we should not blame them for what their corporate masters are up to. I personally would not ever shop at whole foods, because of their past unethical business practices, this current situation as well as the fact that they are just an over priced corporate entity who want nothing more than to increase profits & market share. Not to mention that unlike New Seasons, they just don't sell a lot of everyday items that I need.

Joshua said...

Oh, and in response to the other Whole Foods team member, I find it funny that you distinguish between Whole Foods & Wild Oats...and the 'lil ol' wild oats' is especially hilarious. I have nothing personally against anyone who shops or works at Whole Foods. I simply feel that they are to natural foods what Starbucks is to coffee. As for 'hurt feelings', whatever information that Whole Foods "needed" they got, it would seem, and not without forcing much smaller businesses to spend lots of money in legal fees compiling this information. But I guess as long as they're selling the right brands of chai & kombucha they can do whatever they like, right? I do not think that whole Foods are a monopoly. I do think that they clearly lack ethics, or have we forgotten about those pesky leaked emails from a few years back about 'crushing the competition'?

Anonymous said...

The other one of the 93that challenged Whole Foods is Gelson's in Southern California.

Link to an article I just read about it:

http://naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com/2009/01/retail-memo-news-analysis-gelsons-chain.html

I was very interested because I worked for Gelson's in Southern CA before moving back to Portland in the late 90's. Work in sales in the industry now.

Gelson's has sure been low key about it though.

Wonder if they have given Whole Foods the info now that FTC ruled against them. Do you know Brian?

KellyAnnPortland said...

Interesting news: Whole Foods is offering a settlement to the whole case to the FTC.

Link:
http://naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com/2009/01/retail-memo-breaking-whole-foods-makes.html

it's at www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.com
if that link doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

"As a matter of fact, even though NS is local they are not technically a natural foods store. They carry some products from (oh no...) BIG chain companies that use horrible ingredients. Their quality standards just aren't the same as WF,..."
NS is proud that they offer a wide range of products because it is their intention to be a neighborhood store where anyone can find what they need.
I am always amazed that WF takes pride in their "quality standards" when very few of your products are organic. And honestly I haven't noticed much local produce either. If you're only offering food that "isn't harmful" why would you offer conventional, pesticide laden foods at all with heavy amounts of soy and canola? I don't care if NS is a "natural food store" or not. I can buy everything I need and it's ALL organic and I know that the produce is local as well as other items.

rahodeb said...

John Mackey Speaks Out:

Retail Memo: 'God And Man at Yale' - The FTC-Whole Foods Settlement Talks: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Speaks Out at Yale University

Link:
http://naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com/2009/02/retail-memo-god-and-man-at-yale-ftc.html

at: www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com

Even rahodeb thinks this is too much...lol.

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