Whole Foods Founder
Notes from Evan Smith
"John Mackey is CEO of Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural foods retail chain.
In 1978 Mackey, a college dropout, and his girlfriend at the time borrowed $45,000 from family friends and opened Safer Way Natural Foods, a small vegetarian health food store, in Austin. After a rocky start, Mackey approached Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of another Austin health food store, Clarksville Natural Grocery, and asked them to merge with his store. They agreed, and in 1980 the trio opened Whole Foods Natural Market, the nation's first natural supermarket.
Since then, Whole Foods has expanded rapidly, mostly by acquiring other natural foods chains such as Wellspring Grocery, Bread and Circus, and Fresh Fields Markets. Whole Foods now operates a total of 156 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In 1998, Whole Foods Market was named one of the best companies to work for in the United States, and has been named to that list each year ever since.
In 2003, John Mackey was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 4.29.04