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Natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market will celebrate its 30th anniversary next month with a birthday bash at its world headquarters in Austin, Texas, and festivities at all of its stores, during which the company will acknowledge its past accomplishments as well as future food, farming and environmental initiatives for healthier communities and a healthier planet.
“Whole Foods Market was started to offer people healthy, high-quality food in its purest state, and we’re still committed to that mission 30 years later,” said co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey. “It has been extremely rewarding to see that Whole Foods Market is much more than a grocery store to our shoppers and our team members. It is a catalyst for helping make our world a better place to live. We now have the scale, visibility and opportunity to have a larger influence than ever before.”
Nineteen team members helped open Whole Foods in Austin on Sept. 20, 1980, with the goal of providing a more natural alternative to conventional grocery offerings. At the same time, the organization that became the Organic Trade Association was established, giving the organic movement new momentum. After Whole Foods was in business for a decade, U.S. organic retail sales reached $1 billion in 1990; the grocer’s sales currently represent a $24 billion industry.
The United States’ first National Certified Organic Grocer, Whole Foods today employs more than 55,000 associates at 298 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and reached sales of $8 billion in 2009.
To commemorate its 30th birthday, 30 shoppers (and their guests) were selected from more than 5,600 entries from the company's “A Heart as Big as Texas” short essay contest to win a trip to Whole Foods headquarters for an all-expense-paid VIP culinary weekend, Sept. 17 through Sept. 19, presented by Texas Tourism, JetBlue Airways and Radisson Austin.