Thursday, June 05, 2014
More Organic Food Choices Coming to NW Arkansas
As many have no doubt already heard, the rumor that a WholeFoods Market is coming to Fayetteville has proven true. The company announced it will build a store on College Avenue – a mere two miles north of Ozark Natural Foods. Many advocates of healthier food choices welcomed the news. Since Fayetteville is a university town, which many have compared to Austin, Texas, before it grew; the idea of Whole Foods in Fayetteville seems like a natural extension for the company, which is based in Austin.
However, consumers will have to be patient. Whole Foods Market is not scheduled to open until fall 2015.
Organic foods have been available, especially in Fayetteville and Rogers, for some time. Ozark Natural Foods has been open for more than 30 years. And Cook’s Natural Market, a family owned and operated store located on West Walnut in Rogers, has offered organic foods for some time.
The Fresh Market at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers opened two years ago and has also proven popular with customers seeking fresh, natural, organic foods.
Wal-Mart is expanding organic food options by relaunching the Wild Oats brand of packaged organic and natural foods. WM says prices will belower than competitors on a wide variety of products.
So, rather than availability, the problem has been cost. It is not unusual to see prices of organic foods double the usual items at a supermarket.
I think that’s why folks are excited to learn competition is coming to the Fayetteville market.
Competition is a good thing. It forces management to look at all aspects of their business; top to bottom.
ONF and WFM have totally different business models. One is not necessarily better than the other. Much depends on management plus the perspective of the consumer.
Ozark Natural Foods is a locally owned co-op (ownership by and for its members.) Owners/members have certain privileges such as discounts and exclusive sales events not available to the general public. At the end of a particularly profitable year, patronage refunds may be paid to members.
Whole Foods Market is a publicly traded corporation operating more than 360 stores. Stock holders own the business and when finances are good, dividends are paid to stock holders.
Will WFM’s economy of size help keep prices lower than ONF? Or will ONF save money on transportation expenses by buying from local suppliers? Only time will tell.
Many shoppers will probably drive by one or both stores while running errands. Surely they will compare prices and availability and decide for themselves which store best meets their needs.
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