Although it is easy to find organic food today, this has not always been the case. In fact, in the late 1970s, it was extremely difficult to do so. It was particularly hard if you were living in the city. Whole Foods Market saw this opportunity and capitalized on it.
Whole Foods’ Humble Beginnings
In 1978, Whole Foods was founded as a health food store in Austin, Texas. Even then, they understood the importance of creating a strong team and a clearly defined culture. They also understood their target market. These things helped them to create a unique brand. Their purpose was to cater to people who were both health and socially conscious and interested in buying locally grown organic produce.
When Whole Foods first opened its doors, American shoppers were accustomed to having a wide variety of frozen and prepackaged convenience foods to choose from. However, many consumers wanted authentic, locally grown produce. This is something that Mackey and Lawson Hardy not only noticed but decided to use to their advantage. Initially, they opened Safer Way Natural Foods. Later on, this store merged with Clarksville Natural Grocery in 1980 to form Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods’ Growth
Over the years Mackey and Lawson Hardy remained true to their goal of bringing fresh, locally sourced food to consumers’ tables. This is why, even today, you will notice that Whole Foods frequently rotates its stock based on the season. The sense of authenticity that was created here is something that has been cultivated and reinforced throughout the years.
While it looks like Whole Foods advertises itself with great ease, it has not always been this way. In the beginning, Mackey and Lawson Hardy’s dream was in danger when a catastrophic flood took place in their store and they had no insurance. Fortunately, community members took it upon themselves to help save the store. Doing so helped instill a deep sense of community and commitment to customers in the brand.
What Other Brands Can Learn from Whole Foods
As Whole Foods continued to grow, its marketing continued to focus on expanding upon its original mission of bringing local, organic food to stores where people could easily buy it. It also remained committed to ethical business practices and environmental sustainability. Doing so was important to the brand because these values were important to the customers. Whole Foods also understood that this focus was what differentiated it from the many other grocery stores in the area.
Understanding these things about Whole Foods is important for any business that wants to learn how to properly scale themselves. Whole Foods has always had a strong culture and trusted team that they rely on to help them be successful. Their culture and team have been a key element for Whole Foods to overcome many setbacks over the years, such as the flood that almost destroyed them in the beginning.
The fact that Whole Foods was able to find a growing niche, then target it in a unique and valuable way, was also a great asset to them as a brand. Whole Foods understood their market and had a truly unique vision for it, one that was unheard of when this supermarket first opened its doors. This is something that every brand should do today: find an opportunity, identify its issues, then make sure they solve the issues in a better way than their competition.
Start Your Niche Today
There are still many opportunities for brands to capitalize on niches today. If you need help with your marketing efforts, contact Web Content Development today.