Whole Foods + Wild Oats: merger approved. Uh oh?

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    Aug 25, 2007 12:13 AM GMT
    My local Wild Oats (called Sun Harvest here) is much cheaper. I fear it'll be converted to an expensive Whole Foods now, and my choices will be very limited. Thoughts?
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    Aug 25, 2007 4:37 AM GMT
    Whole Foods is on the rich side of town here and has a shrimp bar. Wild Oats is in the poorer middle of town and isn't nearly as exotic. I love Whole Foods--who knew there were so many kinds of paprika?
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    Aug 25, 2007 5:32 AM GMT
    It's possible that it could happen. On the other hand, grocery store mergers often keep the stores the same as before. For instance, Albertson's was bought by SuperValu, but most of the stores have stayed the same as before. It's likely that most of the Wild Oats stores will stay the same.

    I'm just jealous that you even have the option of either of the two. We don't have Whole Foods or Wild Oats in Idaho. We do have WinCo, which is like the Wal-Mart of food stores in this area except that it actually has corporate ethics, but it's not a natural foods store in any sense. I went to a Whole Foods when I was in DC and loved it.
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    Aug 25, 2007 12:16 PM GMT
    Both are terrific, and we're lucky to have several in Chicago. To get the best prices on stuff, I go to Trader Joe's for the simple staples: eggs, milk, flour. To Wild Oats for the produce. To Whole Foods for the stuff you're not going to find anywhere else (pomegranate molasses, anyone)? And the local butcher for meat and poultry.
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    Aug 26, 2007 1:15 AM GMT
    No need to worry-
    Sun Harvest and Harry's Marketplace stores are being sold as part of the merger deal as those stores do not fit the Whole Foods corporate image.
    There are three Sun Harvest stores in town and one Whole Foods. I like Sun Harvest because they normally have good ad specials on produce and other items. The Whole Foods here is not a fancy one- it is run of the mill Whole Foods so its not like the newer fancier ones. I get there every week due to work purposes for research.
    Basically the court found(and John Mackey has reiterated this in his blog) that other competitors such as Wegmans, HEB,Central Market,Safeway, and Trader Joe's were the retailers that now compete with Whole Foods for the natural/organic piece of the pie. Wild Oats is a cog in the wheel of food with everyone else and it was found the merger would not affect pricing of natural and organic foods in general.
    Ric
  • UStriathlete

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    Nov 28, 2007 3:58 AM GMT
    whole foods sold off Henry's and Sun Harvest to Smart and final.

    no big deal. smart and final will keep the stores the same. they are in the process of hiring a buying staff.

    some of the wild oats will be turned into whole foods, some will close and some will be come Alfalfa's in colorado. all the southern california wild oats will not close and will be come whole foods.

    i'm in the industry. that's how i know.
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    Nov 28, 2007 4:13 AM GMT
    I'm in Colordo and love my Wild Oats store which is in walking distance of my home. I've never been a fan of Whole Foods - over priced and tends to cater to pushy sstraight women! I think the Federal Court was right in allowing the merger as Kroger and Safeway both seem to getting into the natual foods. It sounds like UStriathlete has the best inside scoop
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    Nov 28, 2007 6:41 PM GMT
    Smart and Final sounds like mini CostCo/PriceClub/BJ's/Sam's. I wonder if their influence will improve or ruin Sun Harvest.

    Admittedly my Sun Harvest here is poorly run (Brodie Oaks). Some things are still too expensive, and some choices too limited. Also, they tend to leave expired stuff on the shelves...especially eggs and most recently egg nog. Perhaps Smart and Final can improve upon all this. Conversely, the produce, meat, and dairy might move away from local sources, in the interest of efficiency (Smart and Final's apparent forte).

    LatinMuscle2000...can you shed more light?
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    Nov 28, 2007 7:22 PM GMT
    Never been to a Sun Harvest but I really like the Whole Foods markets here in Dallas. Pricey, yes, but the produce, meats, and fish are generally excellent. Dinner comes from the prepared foods counter more than I like to admit. Central Market is also great for finding obscure ingredients. (An olive bar?!) The only problem is when I need to buy laundry detergent or toilet paper. I want Tide, not organic lavender, and Charmin, not unbleached butcher paper.
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    Nov 28, 2007 7:25 PM GMT
    They closed the Wild Oats by me last month. Had a huge sale, 50% off everything. I went in the 2nd day of the sale, and it looked like everyone was preparing for a blizzard. Most of the shelves were bare, but at least there was no fighting over that last piece of Tofu (or maybe there was and I just missed it). So the store will be remodeled and open as a Whole Foods in May.

    This will be the second Whole Foods near me. the first is in Cambridge, and used to be a Bread & Circus. Actually met Julia Child there as she was doing her shopping.