24.11.2003: Meldung: Whole Foods" John Mackey Named 2003 Entrepreneur of the Year

John P. Mackey, Chairman, President and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, has been named the 2003 Overall National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year. Mackey was recognized for his outstanding entrepreneurial achievement of successfully building Whole Foods into the world"s largest retailer of natural and organic foods.

Mackey was honored as both a category winner in the Retail and Consumer Products Category, and the overall award winner at a gala event on Saturday, November 22, 2003, in Palm Springs, Calif. Other award recipients in ten industry categories were also announced. All Entrepreneur Of The Year winners were selected from 400 regional award recipients by an independent panel of judges. In addition to being named the overall Entrepreneur Of The Year in the United States, Mackey will join entrepreneurs from around the world for the 2004 World Entrepreneur Of The Year program which takes place in Monte Carlo in June of 2004.

Focus on Quality, Natural Food Bears Fruit
Whole Foods Market has experienced phenomenal growth since its original store opened in 1980. At the time, there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States. Today, Whole Foods has 149 stores across the country (expected to double by 2010), nearly $3 billion in sales and a strong corporate culture that drives its success. Behind the chain"s growth is John Mackey, an unconventional entrepreneur who brought the natural foods concept to the competitive supermarket business. Mackey"s background and socially conscious approach led to his unlikely road to success. After dropping out of three Texas colleges in the "70s, he moved into a vegetarian co-op where he focused on reading philosophy, cooking natural foods and being outdoors. Living in the co-op awakened his food consciousness and set the stage for what would eventually become Whole Foods.

In 1978, Mackey and his then girlfriend opened Safer Way, a vegetarian health food store, with an initial investment of $45,000 borrowed from friends and family. Neither had any business training and the store suffered financially while they learned the ropes of running a business. Realizing growth was necessary, Mackey secured an investment and persuaded the owner of a small natural foods store to merge with him. The business opened in 1980 in Austin, Texas, as Whole Foods Natural Market. It was the first supermarket-style natural foods store in the country with 10,000 square feet of space and a staff of 19 people. Whole Foods was an immediate success. However, a spring flood a year later left the store under eight feet of water. Several customers and employees voluntarily pitched in to clean up the mess and Mackey"s bank worked out necessary arrangements to get the business back on its feet. In 30 days the store reopened. The astonishing commitment from Mackey"s customers made him realize the potential for his natural foods supermarket and the need to expand. He opened a second store that turned profitable within a year, thus beginning the company"s expansion spree. By 1991, Whole Foods moved into Houston, Dallas, Louisiana, Northern California and North Carolina by acquiring and building new stores.

In 1992, with 12 stores and $92 million in sales, Whole Foods went public on Nasdaq to help fund its growth strategy. Since its IPO, Whole Foods has expanded aggressively with 25% of its growth from acquisitions that enabled it to gain entry into southern California, Boston and Washington DC. The company"s expansion has helped to fuel continued growth in the natural products industry. With a store base generally concentrated in the top 25 metropolitan markets, Whole Foods is well positioned as Americans shift to healthier lifestyles.

Underlying Whole Foods" success is Mackey"s strong commitment to the environment. On a global basis, the company supports organic farming - the best method for promoting sustainable agriculture and protecting the environment and farm workers. Locally, Whole Foods is actively involved in its communities by supporting food banks, sponsoring neighborhood events, compensating the company"s team members for community service work and holding "Five percent days" when that amount of sales for a particular day is given to a local not-for-profit organization.

National Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists in Retail and Consumer Products Category
John P. Mackey was named both the 2003 Overall National Entrepreneur Of The Year winner and the winner in the Retail and Consumer Products category. The national finalists in this category were Ronald Shaich, Chairman and CEO, Panera Bread Company, a national chain of bakery-cafes; and Jill Blashack, Founder, President and CEO, Tastefully Simple, a direct sales company of upscale, gourmet foods.

Additional Entrepreneur Of The Year Category Award Winners
Awards were given in nine additional categories:
* Charles (Chuck) Geschke and John Warnock of California-based Adobe
Systems, Inc. have been named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of
The Year(R) award winners in the Information Technology category.
* Paul Shoopman of Indianapolis-based Dura Companies has been named the
2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) award winner in the
Hospitality, Real Estate & Construction category.
* Penny Lewandowski of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council has been
named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) award winner
in the Supporter of Entrepreneurship category.
* Dr. Sergio Magistri of California-based InVision Technologies has been
named 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) award winner in
the Defense and Security category.
* David Neeleman and Dave Barger of New York City-based JetBlue Airways,
have been named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R)
award winners in the Consumer and Business Services category.
* Tim Donahue of Virginia-based Nextel Communications Inc. has been
named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) award winner
in the Networking and Communications category.
* Brothers Carlos and Jorge de Cespedes of Miami-based Pharmed Group,
have been named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R)
award winners in the Life Sciences category.
* Catherine Hughes and Alfred Liggins III of Maryland-based Radio One,
have been named the 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R)
award winners in the Arts and Entertainment category.
* Leo F. Wells III of Georgia-based Wells Real Estate has been named the
2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) award winner in the
Financial Services category.

Ernst & Young Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award
Sara Miller McCune, Publisher and Chairman of Sage Publications -- the publishing company that she founded at age 24 -- was honored with the Ernst & Young Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. Ms. McCune was chosen because her extraordinary leadership has created a legacy that has had a positive social and economic impact on her employees, community and industry. She embodies the ideals and qualities of entrepreneurship and serves as both a role model and encourager of those same characteristics in her employees.

About The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Program
The Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program was created and is produced by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP. As the first award of its kind, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses. The program honors entrepreneurs through regional, national and global award programs in over 100 cities and 35 countries.

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public"s trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 103,000 people in more than 140 countries around the globe pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism to provide clients with solutions based on financial, transactional, and risk- management knowledge in Ernst & Young"s core services of audit, tax, and corporate finance. Ernst & Young practices also provide legal services in those parts of the world where permitted. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at www.ey.com/perspectives. Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

Source: Ernst & Young

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