Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) could never catch a break.
When it first hit the scene, the company was mocked by those who thought the idea of sustainability and organic food was something only for hippie throwbacks and moral do-gooders. It could never be a viable business.
Not long after the company went public, that mentality started to change.
CEO John Mackey wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky long hair. He was a champion of free markets and knew how to capitalize on an opportunity so many other grocery store chains were incapable of seeing behind aisles glyphosate oatmeal and pesticide peaches.
Mackey’s Whole Foods was making a fortune, and early investors cleaned up, too. Take a look …
Of course, despite the success of Whole Foods, the company was constantly criticized by overzealous organic consumers and Big Ag apologists.
Folks who buy their groceries at Walmart complained Whole Foods prices were too high, and the store was too pretentious. For some reason, a modern, upscale look with good-looking produce means “pretentious.” And “too expensive” means they’re not willing to spend an extra buck or two on healthier food, but they’ll be more than happy to drop $6.00 on a Mocha Latte from Starbucks.
Lack of priorities is one of the reasons we have so many unhealthy people in this country.
Then there’s the flip side from the cult of arrogant luddites who think their microwaves cause migraines.
These were the folks that criticized Whole Foods because not everything in the store was organic and responsibly-produced. Nevermind the fact that until Whole Foods came along, no major grocery store offered as big of a organic food variety than Whole Foods.
They also attacked John Mackey for defending his stores against a plague of union leeches. Nevermind the fact that Whole Foods voluntarily paid their employees more and offered far more benefits for employees than most other chain grocery stores.
Of course, John Mackey rarely flinched. He kept loyal to his libertarian and healthy lifestyle roots. He owned everything he did and everything he said. They end result? Amazon wants to buy the company Mackey started 37 years ago for $13.4 billion.
Thinking Outside the Box
Now that Whole Foods may soon fall under the umbrella of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), people are losing their minds again.
Analysts who have hated on Whole Foods since day one, because management had the audacity to give the conventional supermarket model the middle finger, are questioning the moves of Jeff Bezos. Because of course people who write about finance are much smarter than one of the richest men in the world, boasting a net worth of $71 billion.
And then there are those damn purists who believe any company that makes a profit is evil. They’re now bitching and moaning because apparently Amazon is a horrible company that doesn’t treat their workers fairly and treats the planet like a toilet.
Truth is, I don’t know how sustainability-minded Amazon is. But I do know that the company has set a goal of hosting solar power systems at 50 of its fulfillment network buildings by 2020. Currently, the company is the leading corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States. You can read more about Amazon’s sustainability efforts here: https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/gkkwdp34z5ou7ug
Both Whole Foods and Amazon represent the power of thinking outside the box.
When Whole Foods and Amazon first went public, both companies were heavily criticized. Today, they’re two of the biggest forces in retail.
So to all you pissed-off social justice warriors who hate capitalism but love your $8 organic kombucha, lighten up and be happy that a company like Whole Foods even exists.
And for all you folks who think social equity, environmentalism, and corporate responsibility are tools of a leftist agenda designed to cripple the American dream, lighten up and be happy that so many companies have excelled by embracing these types of things – and have therefor become job creators that have bolstered the US economy in an exceptional way.