Thursday, August 2, 2007

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market



“Life is an adventure. We learn and grow from life’s journey, life’s adventure” John Mackey said, about his business’s key of success.

The seed of Mackey’s business started from a vegetarian store in his home garage in 1978. 29 years later, Mackey’s business grows quickly. Now, it branch out into 196 stores in US, Canada and England. Mackey’s incomes are more than 5.6 billion USD with 41,500 employees. His business is worth more than 1 trillion USD. Mackey achieved it all after with his hard working habit.

This man, who dropped out from Texas College, started his business by lending 45,000 USD from his friend and family. With this money, Mackey and his female friend, Renee Lawson Hardy, established the first vegetarian supermarket, not only in Texas, but all over Texas. The supermarket was named Safer Way and was located in his 3 floor home garage. The first floor is the supermarket, the second floor is a healthy restaurant, and the third floor is where Mackey lived. 2 years later, in 1980, Safer Way merged with another store and became Whole Foods Market (WFM). At that time, the store was 500 m2 with 19 employees.

Mackey’s admitted that Whole Foods Market is his highest achievement. “I am sure that the establishment, expansion, and building of WFM are the best achievement that I have ever gained,“ Mackey said with shiny eyes. According to him, his decision to establish a vegetarian supermarket is because he is also a vegetarian. Mackey decided to join the vegetarian community because it is a good place to find a match. It turned out quite true; he met his wife there, who is also a vegetarian, Deborah Morin.

After his supermarket changed name into Whole Foods Market, people started to know and understand the concept that he was offering. Mackey tried introducing people to healthy products. These products don’t use pesticides, dangerous fertilizers, hormones or antibiotics. Mackey guarantees that all of his products are organic products that were carefully selected. People became more familiar with his concept and eventually his income started to rise.

With the customer’s supports, Mackey felt more confidence to fulfill his dream by expanding WFM to other cities. In 1991, Whole Foods Market has branched out in Houston, Dallas, Louisiana, North California and North Carolina. Those expansions are done by building new stores or acquiring existing stores. Soon the business became stronger, and in 1992 Mackey possessed 12 stores and 92 million USD incomes. Mackey then got WFM listed in NASDAQ that year. Since the IPO, Whole Foods Market became more and more aggressive in expanding their business. Soon after that, Whole Foods Market became the market leader in the healthy life style market of the US people.

Mackey said that his success is achieved because he can meet the needs from much kind of people. “I think the biggest problem in building WFM is the philosophy of the business itself. Business that meets the needs of the shareholder and stockholder for the progress of the company,” he said. Because of his success, Mackey has won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. In 2005 WFM is one from the 25 Best Companies to Work For according to Fortune. “I don’t have any idea. I never prepared all this. I started with 1 store, and then opened the second, third, fourth and until now there are 196 stores,” Mackey said.

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