Monday, January 12, 2009

We're Just Trying To Mind Our Own (Local) Business. Updated Monday 1/12

We just heard that Whole Foods Market is planning to have a press conference tomorrow to announce that their CEO, John Mackey, has sent letters to grocers throughout the country explaining why he wants them to turn over their internal private documents to the Whole Foods lawyers. We assume that Whole Foods is taking this step because (as we last heard) only about half of the 94 grocery companies that were subpoenaed had responded to Whole Foods and many of those who did respond only turned over partial and incomplete records. We’re also aware that, in addition to us, one other company has taken legal action to try and stop the Whole Food's subpoena.

We hope that Whole Foods will be announcing a new and more reasonable proposal about the amount and type of information they are requiring and the protections they are offering regarding confidentiality. We’re certainly willing to cooperate with reasonable requests, but unfortunately what Whole Foods has officially demanded so far just isn’t reasonable. They have tried to force us to give them information that isn’t necessary for their case and which could harm us competitively. The so called "protective order" they've offered doesn't come close to providing real security for us. If you’d like to have a better understanding of how we ended up in the crossfire of this legal dispute and how it has affected New Seasons Market, you can take a look at this blog that I posted last month.

We’ve been in negotiations with the Whole Foods attorneys for the last three weeks in an attempt to find a solution to this problem. We promised to keep the details of our conversations confidential, but I can tell you that we’re hopeful that the proposal that Whole Foods makes tomorrow will be similar to some of the constructive ideas that have already been discussed and will give us a fair way to resolve this issue.

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gosh they really are wasting your time, aren't they?

Banana Jones said...

It's insane that the FTC and the Whole Foods Corporation are pursuing this nonsense. I have half a mind to go eat a banana. I am furious!

Carrie T said...

I'm sorry that this silliness is causing such a headache for you, but just know that your store is 1000 times better than Whole Foods and I am always mentioning you guys on my blog!

Thanks for being such a great business!

Carrie Thienes
http://oreganicthrifty.blogspot.com

barbra r said...

thanks for keeping us posted. send my love to seven corners!

Ruby Gates said...

Although this situation is difficult and time consuming, New Seasons is once again creating market transformation by encouraging federal law to examine the crucial role local businesses play in a healthy economy.

The current legal environment favors national conglomerates, applying a "for the good of all" mindset to competition. New Seasons forces a new definition of that mind set and paves the path for a healthier and more competitive local landscape. One which is far more sustainable and embraces social, environmental and economic aspects -those pesky components often overlooked by nationals

Anonymous said...

Whole Foods is demonstrating a legitimate need to show the judge this information. (Not the same as a legitimate need to HAVE the information internally.)

Has it occurred to any of your attorneys to negotiate a "for the judge's eyes only)compliance, and turning over only as little as it takes to show you're still in business?

As well as to demonstrate the potential harm to your viability in this market for a monster-chain to gobble up another regional chain?

Steven Hobbes said...
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