“How to Double Your Money on ‘The Next Whole Foods'”

Sniffing out the rapidly expanding natural food chain touted by Keith Fitz-Gerald

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 9, 2013

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Today’s tease comes in for the Money Map Report, in some articles where they hint around about the best way to double your money on the stock they think can be the “Next Whole Foods.” The pick is by Keith Fitz-Gerald, but We get a bit of an introduction from Steve Christ in a free article lead-in to the ad:

“There’s an incredible new trend brewing right now. And it’s incredibly profitable too…

“… this particular industry has grown from “only” $3.6 billion a year in 1997 to more than $31.5 billion today.

“That’s especially impressive when you consider that this growth – all 775% of it – occurred during the greatest sustained economic downturn since the Great Depression.

“You see, the industry – and a company that just went public in July – is set up to benefit from an extreme cultural shift that’s gaining speed and strength every day.

“I’m talking about the movement towards ‘real’ food-not ‘fake.'”

And this …

“Whole Foods has plans to nearly triple … to about 1,000 stores by moving into suburban and other underserved markets.

“According to Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald, that’s just a sign of what’s to come in the organic food industry.

“‘People are becoming acutely aware of what they put in their bodies’ Keith said, ‘and they don’t want it to be genetically modified, full of high-fructose corn syrup, or created with chemicals, herbicides, preservatives, and growth hormones.'”

Well … not everyone is becoming acutely aware. Coca Cola still sells more than one serving of their products (mostly Coke and Diet Coke) per person, per day in the United States, and we are notoriously eager to try every new processed convenience food — from the frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich (the absurd Uncrustables are 15 years old this year!) to the pressurized can of pancake batter.

But yes, I agree this is a trend that’s not likely to crest anytime soon — more organic, more natural, hopefully less processed (though I’m a sucker for organic and natural convenience foods myself).

So how do we play that trend as an investment? Well, there’s always Whole Foods (WFM), of course, a stock I like but have never owned (I can’t seem to get the timing right on that one — when it has dipped or seen lower prices, I wasn’t paying attention to it … though it’s actually looking pretty good to me again lately, I’m in the process of taking a closer look).

But Whole Foods is already pretty big. Not huge — larger grocery chains like Kroger and Supervalu have close to 2,500 stores each, Safeway comes in close at about 1,500, Whole Foods has about 350 stores, with ambitions to continue increasing that store count by 5-10% per year and an assertion that they can easily reach 1,000 stores in the United States without saturating the market.

And Whole Foods has been a remarkable growth engine for investors for many years — since well before it was touted as the “New American Super Brand” by the Motley Fool brothers in the early days of Stock Gumshoe (that was six years ago — though they still own it and tease it now and again), but when you’ve got a big growth company that looks a little bit expensive, with fears that the growth may be petering out or cresting, you can bet that someone will try to sell you on the idea that there’s an up-and-comer ready to eat their lunch.

So that’s what we’ve got today — Keith Fitz-Gerald thinks he’s found the “next Whole Foods.” Here’s how he hints around about this one in the attempt to get you to subscribe to the Money Map Report for the full story:

“As Whole Foods becomes referred to as ‘Whole Paychecks’ among more and more shoppers, consumers will look elsewhere for cheaper organic products.

“That’s where this company has a competitive advantage with its much smaller stores. As a result, they are able to offer prices 8%-10% lower than Whole Foods.

“What’s more, the company offers entirely organic and natural products, whereas Whole Foods offers a combination of organic and non-organic products.

“You may not think this is a big deal, but there’s a hidden benefit since it means shoppers don’t have to waste their time reading labels. They can rest assured that every last item has been pre-screened before it hits the shelves.

“… here’s where the payoff really is for investors: the company used the $54 million it raised in its share offering to pay off debt and can now fund its expansion with a clean slate. Very few companies have this luxury….

“… the company plans to expand its store count by 20% a year.

“And with just 60 stores currently in operation and the prospect of 1,000 stores in the future, that’s practically like buying Whole Foods at the beginning of its run.

“Since the company’s stock began trading publicly in July 2012, shares have gained 34.36%. Says Keith: ‘I don’t expect the price to stay so low for long.'”

And the note also adds that this pick was recommended in the Money Map Report in their December issue … which would mean they’re already doing pretty well. The pick being teased is Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NGVC), and the shares were mostly around $20 in December and they’ve recently been on a spike up to around $24 — though this is a new and pretty thinly-traded small stock, with a market cap of only about $500 million, so it’s been a very bumpy ride since the IPO, with quite a few weeks when the stock was up or down 10%.

The stock is not obviously cheap, and it’s pretty heavily shorted, but it’s not wildly out of line with the valuation of Whole Foods or the other specialty grocery chains. There aren’t that many really comparable publicly traded stocks — there’s The Fresh Market (TFM), which is more of a gourmet shop chain but also appeals to a similar demographic, but really the main competition for Natural Grocers is Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (still privately held) and your local small natural grocery store or regional chain.

So how do they stack up? Here’s a wee bit of a chart for you:

Whole Foods Natural Grocers
Price/Sales 1.28 1.5
Forward Price/Earnings (estimated) 25 40
Expected Annual Earnings Growth (next five years) 19% 26.5%
PEG Ratio 1.55 1.73
Store Count 344 59
Market Capitalization $15.5 billion $550 million

These companies are not all that comparable on meany measures — the average Natural Grocers shop is about 10,000 square feet, similar to Trader Joe’s and of necessity pretty limited in scope, and the average Whole Foods is 38,000 square feet, much more like a smaller traditional supermarket. Natural Grocers does indeed focus on being more restrictive than Whole Foods, refusing to sell any non-organic produce, but both have restrictions on what they sell (no artificial flavors or colors, no bleached flour, lots of forbidden chemical ingredients) — the spiel is that Natural Grocers is so much more careful that you don’t have to check to see if the produce is organic or read the label, they only sell the good stuff. They also don’t offer prepared foods or the big variety of meats that Whole Foods does — which is probably part of the reason (along with economies of scale) that WFM can squeeze out a larger profit margin (4% vs. 2% as of last year).

Will that mean they can take market share away from Whole Foods? Or expand quickly enough to build businesses in smaller areas before Whole Foods can establish a presence? Well, maybe, though I suspect that they’re more likely to supplement and coexist with Whole Foods (much as Trader Joe’s does) in many markets, and in smaller markets they’d be more likely to hurt the small local natural foods shops and coops. I expect we’ll find that this trend toward more natural and organic food is large enough to support a lot of businesses — and clearly, there are a large number of traditional supermarkets (not all) that just can’t or don’t provide the ethical, health or wellness products (and reassurance, and vibe) that many shoppers want.

It’s an interesting business, with a strong social trend backing them up and a pretty rapid growth plan — but when I browse through the numbers I feel a bit more comfortable with Whole Foods. That’s mostly because they’ve built an incredible national brand and have had very solid growth over a long period of time (though sales did decline during the last recession before bouncing back up), and they’ve proven that they can gobble up any competitors who are worth eating — like the last natural foods darling to come out of Colorado, Wild Oats Markets, which they bought a few years back. NGVC is just so very, very tiny with only 60 stores that it seems likely they’ll make expansion mistakes that would really hit their bottom line — or simply be more expensive than expected. Whole Foods also carries no debt, and they have a small but rising dividend of 1% (and one that they can easily afford to grow even as they invest in significant store growth over the next two years, it’s only about a 30% payout ratio right now).

Whole Foods is also clearly tracking the urban and suburban success of Trader Joe’s and other small specialty and natural foods stores, and they’re being flexible with their expansion — I doubt they’ll open many 10,000 square foot stores, but they are going smaller for some locales where a 40,000 square foot natural supermarket just can’t sell enough to survive.

Perhaps my initial reaction that I’m more comfortable with the big guy than with the upstart is because I don’t know NGVC at all, and I think investors are generally too eager to jump on the “up and coming” pick and to underestimate the huge power of a large store count and an established brand. In truth, the expanding natural foods business is probably going to help all of these companies — and having a huge player like Whole Foods preaching the gospel and creating a national market and demand should also help to drive acceptance of more niche products and drive down prices of natural foods as consumption increases.

I’ve never been in a Natural Grocers, and I shop at Whole Foods with some regularity — Natural Grocers started in Colorado and is mostly spread across the Western half of the country, so although they had a pretty good IPO and their stock is doing quite well right now, it may also be that they won’t get the full measure of respect from Wall Street analysts until they have a store in Westchester, NY or Greenwich, CT. And I probably won’t make my way into one of their stores until they hit Massachusetts. Both companies have strong leadership teams, with John Macke at Whole Foods always ruffling a few feathers somewhere and with the founding family of Natural Grocers still calling the shots.

So what do you think? Interested in picking up some natural foods shares (and you can throw in suppliers like Hain Celestial (HAIN) or Annie’s (BNNY) to the mix if you like)? Have a preference for the more rapid growth of the new guys at NGVC (that’s not fair — the company’s actually older, only their big expansion is new) or for the much larger, slower growing and perhaps yuppie-tainted and less-organic Whole Foods? Let us know with a comment below.


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46 Comments on "“How to Double Your Money on ‘The Next Whole Foods'”"

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David L
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April 9, 2013 4:27 pm

Investors who are also foodies will undoubtedly wait for Wegmans to go public, as the chain has incredible brand loyalty towards its stores and products.

Roger Bond
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0
April 9, 2013 4:41 pm

Health foods are a different animal, for sure, but grocery in general has usually been plagued with tight margins – though that may now be different since all but 1 major chain is most areas has been driven out.

Here in this part of Texas you have H.E.B. and… H.E.B. But of course you need to throw in Super Walmart & Super Target as competitors. When one looks at selection and price one gets the impression that each is a monopoly, though.

Roger

Jim Bandler
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0
April 9, 2013 4:46 pm

I would be much more concerned by WalMart expanding into the natural foods area. I understand they are just trying it in a few select stores. NGVC is not for me.

mrhomey
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mrhomey
April 10, 2013 4:45 pm

I would be suspect of natural foods in Walmart. Almost everything in Walmart is from China.

FarmGirl
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FarmGirl
April 9, 2013 5:00 pm

When I lived in Colorado, I shopped at NGVC first, Wild Oats second, and Whole Paycheck third. Same quality (if you read the labels) with lower prices at NGVC.

phanke
Irregular
2
April 9, 2013 5:03 pm

Dear Gumshoe–
This is my first comment in the years I have gumshoed. I live in Austin, TX , and naturally go to stores here. I soon gave up on Whole Foods, it is so outrageously high-priced—for ordinary people, although of course perfectly ok for the affluent and positively rich people who crowd this city . I discovered Natural Grocers some months ago, and though I wouldn’t call it cheap its prices are reasonable and the quality of its products is high.
I predict it would be a profitable stock to own.

bruce
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bruce
April 9, 2013 5:09 pm

I actually owned this one prior to your write up for a change. Other things being equal I like the fact that it is new and in a high growth phase. It looks like they are purests so will have a nitch market in the larger population areas. thanks for the bump in price your article will probably give the stock.

Enzo
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Enzo
April 9, 2013 5:27 pm
I live in Evergreen (Colorado) and, trying to buy only organics, the presence here of a Natural Grocers (which we still call Vitamin Cottage) shop is a most happy circumstance in my life. We buy there about three times a week, as Travis say we completely trust whatever we buy, since they sell only good stuff; people there are extremely friendly (they are friends, actually) and they all look very happy to work there. From the purely financial aspect, it would be hard to say if NG is a good investment. I don`t think that their aim is to completely… Read more »
Carls
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Carls
April 9, 2013 6:12 pm
NGVC has too many brothers and sisters running the company because they semi-inherited it from their parents who were in the “health food” business. They look too nice (internet photos) and look too neat and vegetarian looking. Whole Foods leaders have killer instincts so NGVC cannot compete head to head against Whole Foods. Whole Foods has the right idea with their product mix in not going the purist route NGVC has. I am familiar with this “industry” and do not own WF stock. I don’t shop there much because I know many tricks for getting my natural foods without paying… Read more »
Jan K
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Jan K
April 9, 2013 6:24 pm

I was so disgusted with Whole Paychecks CEO’s attitudes and politics I sold the stock I had held for some time. Natural Grocers seems like it might be a good place to try. We love Trader Joes, though. Any possibility that they’ll go public?

aunt_barb
Irregular
18
aunt_barb
May 6, 2013 7:42 pm

I’m with you, Jan; I really want to invest in Trader Joe’s, but, alas….
Given there are thousands like us, I think NG has a better-than-average chance of both steady growth and “investability.” I’m going to either sell some cautious puts on it today or, if they don’t exist, just go long for a small morsel.

sportsbiz
Irregular
11
June 21, 2013 10:24 pm

I believe that Trader Joes is a subsidiary of the German grocery chain which also owns the Aldiss chain. I don’t think any spin-off is in the works so it’s unlikely we’ll get a shot at TJ stock. We don’t have NGVC here in KY, just Whole Foods, Fresh Market (smaller and even more expensive) and Earth Fare, also smaller and a local natural foods chain. Whole Foods still dominates.

tompaol
Member
56
tompaol
April 9, 2013 6:38 pm
I live in New Hampshire and althoug the closet WF is Andover MA 25 miles or so I am a frequent shopper there. (it’s my favorite restaurant at the salad bar), I do find some things actually less at WF then at the local grocers such as Shaw’s or Stop and Shop in their organic section. I can’t afford to do my weekly shopping there but when I stop in for a salad I get get my coffee beans, lemons, whole grains etc. These I find less money if not equal in price, and I trust them more at WF.… Read more »
George
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George
April 9, 2013 6:43 pm

I would imagine that consumer coops are a limiting factor to expansion in some areas. Here in the Pacific NW we have PCC, which has slowly been expanding, and offers a very good and (importantly) trustworthy selection. They have no qualms locating a store between a Whole Foods and Safeway, and seem to do quite well (the parking lot is always full). Does anyone think that such nonprofits have a significant effect?

vivian lewis
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0
April 9, 2013 6:54 pm

the politics: the head of Whole Paycheck publcly opposed Obamacare because it would add to labor costs but of course also do good for people who cannot shop there. my East Midtown Manhattan neighborhood good a WF about a year ago and its prices are terrifying. We only go in with a specific item to buy carrying our bag (to save 10 Cents) even though it is convenient. But impulse buying is the road to bankruptcy for this financial editor and sometime hausfrau

vivian lewis
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April 9, 2013 6:57 pm

who controls what is organic and regulates the label. who says something is free of pesticides and herbicides and penicillin. you are selling a fantasy at a high price with all this organic stuff wherever it is sold, unless you know the farmer and trust him or her.

T
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T
April 9, 2013 9:08 pm

The USDA regulates the “Organic” label in the United States, and several other developed nations have their own regulatory bodies. Companies go through certifying agents and must meet strict guidelines before they’re allowed to use the word in association with their product labeling and/or advertising. Here though, the USDA literally controls the word’s use commercially.

Dave
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Dave
April 9, 2013 11:46 pm
>>you are selling a fantasy at a high price with all this organic stuff<< Vivian, exactly right. But if we can profit from this quasi-religion, why not? In that regard, I think I'd lean in the direction of WF. I'm surrounded by them here in the SF Bay Area (and the stores are always packed with eager buyers right up until closing time) but I prefer to shop in the local produce stores (Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Mkt, and the many Asian produce mkts) selling fabulous cheap non-organic produce brimming with all the same vits/mins/fiber that are found in the organic… Read more »
Jim
Guest
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April 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Well, that “Organic Stuff” as you put it is used in alternative cancer clinics to help cure cancer. You know, the disease helped a lot by food additives and ground chemicals. I know because I was treated in one in Mexico and they saved my life after the conventional treatments, failed. My cancer type is 98% fatal. Love those organics. 10 years in complete remission after being left for “End Stage”. Gotta Love that.

Dave
Guest
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Dave
April 10, 2013 9:47 pm

Jim, that’s wonderful and I am happy for you. I would not give the credit to organic foods, but I hope your remission holds.
Of possible interest to you:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

Jim
Guest
0
April 12, 2013 11:45 am

Hi Dave,

Well, I would. There are alternative clinics that use only organic diet to cure cancers. Personally, I prefer using “Both Barrels” when it comes to a virulent cancers. The value in the organic diet is that many of the natural cancer fighters are mild and should be used in a healthy environment in the body. Hence, detox and organic diet prior to the other treatments. The clinics know, they have been doing this for decades.
Jim

Harold
Guest
0
May 3, 2013 7:09 pm

Jim, I’m so happy to hear about your health.
I’ve got something similar, I was wondering if
You’d share where you went.
I’d sure appreciate it.
Thanks!

Pam Kimball
Guest
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Pam Kimball
August 21, 2013 2:02 pm
I, too, am happy to hear about this remission (10 years, that has got to be a great record). My neighbor had some kind of cancer and went very organic, lots of purist type vitamins & nutrients (buys via mail from Swanson, mentioned above by someone) and did emotional work, too… He’s doing fine. Also, about 20 years ago, my Dad (“Harold”), had bladder cancer, they cut out a tumor, did a round or so of some kind of chemo, and my sister made him lots & lots of carrot and ginger (and onion, I guess?) soup: remission. (The vegetables… Read more »
Jim Gibson
Guest
0
August 22, 2013 5:29 pm
I was treated at the Issels Clinic in Tia Juana, Mexico. It was founded by a German Doctor with many decades of experience with alternative cancer treatment. They are located within the Angeles Hospital, a medical tourism establishment. Check out http://www.issels.com and you can view my video testimonial on Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC). Or, check out my web page http://www.SurvivingSmallCell.com. on the subject of organic foods, I have seen spectrometer printouts showing the nutrient content of organic vs non-organic. The non-organic foods have their nitrogen content elevated presumably because of the fertilizer used. They also have fewer essential vitamins… Read more »
pedrobrophy
Member
0
pedrobrophy
April 9, 2013 8:35 pm
I am very familiar with VCNG. They are a completely different animal than WFM. It is a pretty bare bones operaton, which probably derives a very large % of their profits (an educated guess would be 40% because of the markup) from supplements, rather than food items. There is a 70’s “co-op” feel to the stores, which are small, understaffed and often virtually empty of customers compared to any WFM I have ever been in. My impression of management is poor. The stores are far from impressive, and appear understaffed. I believe they benefit from cheap rent by locating in… Read more »
Kathy H
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Kathy H
April 9, 2013 9:30 pm

The GMO-non GMO controversy is gaining steam now. I have heard more than once that Whole Foods is selling GMO products while Trader Joe’s does not. Stores that really do sell only healthy products may do better in the long run.
I don’t have stock in any of these stores.

david l.
Guest
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david l.
April 9, 2013 9:53 pm
Let me preface this by saying that I have made a lot of money on WFM. I like the idea of healthy food and was happy to own this stock and in my mind support what i felt a supermarket with a conscience should be. i ignored Mackey’s rants and watched the earnings and the brand grow and grow. Initially I was worried about the whole paycheck theme but I saw WFM respond with a private label house brand that was reasonably priced and of quite good quality. I listened to all the “shorts” and naysayers on the yahoo message… Read more »
Robert
Guest
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Robert
April 9, 2013 9:57 pm

I’ve been using an online organic shop called greenpolkadotbox. Its a club type membership, but extremely reasonable in my opinion, and so far seem to have the lowest prices out there. Family run operation thats going national.

baygreen
Member
32
April 9, 2013 11:29 pm
I just want to be so pure and buy the right foods to eat with the right artificial coloring and temperature and just love those signs for the special and than to wait behind someone with coupons so you can make friends. What a feeling to get to your car or truck and load up your bio plastic food bags what a great feeling, I guess you always judge the super market by there bathrooms you know with all those natural cleaning chemicals in the store there bathroom will be clean with that employee wash your hand video. But the… Read more »
Robert
Guest
0
Robert
April 10, 2013 7:17 am
Hey Cathy, if you’re serious bout trying the greenpolkadotbox, I may be able to get you a free membership. I’m not connected with it in any way, just a lifetime member. Gumshoe readers may be interested in the fact that they are working on an IPO and have the backing of the Organic Consumers Association, NaturalNews, the Institute for Responsible Technology, and Citizens for Health. In fact, here’s a blurb from an article published by the Organic Consumers Association right after greenpolkadotbox opened: “After several years of asking Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other natural food stores to stop selling… Read more »
baygreen
Member
32
April 10, 2013 1:59 pm

Always interested in good health! Will check it out!

Robert
Guest
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Robert
April 10, 2013 7:24 pm

Figure out a way to get me your email address and I’ll try to send you the membership.

Geo
Guest
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Geo
April 10, 2013 10:09 am
I really cannot comment on the business side of things, on the food side, well that is my business. Seriously, the food in the US is the most gawd awful excuse for calling people to eat. The head of the USDA is a politically appointed position and after the lap dog has finished they are instantly employed by the likes of ..well… lets say you have heard of the corporations……snert… ConAgra, Monsanto, Dupont…et al… If some of you are fortunate enough to taste real food….South America, parts of Europe, South East Asia,…….even though the slimes are making inroads there……..then you… Read more »
Doug
Guest
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Doug
April 10, 2013 12:24 pm

Put your $$ on Wild Oats. I know the management and they are “hitters” with tons of site selection experience, all good, plus they are getting compensated to grow rapidly and run it like the own it, a formula that produced great results for them in the past. I drive 30 miles to get to a shopping area with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s … there’s a trend there somewhere.

Kumar
Member
0
Kumar
April 10, 2013 1:42 pm

How long before Amazon moves into this space?
Likely if their same day delivery thing clicks.
Wonder if the existing organic B&M players esp. smaller ones like NGVC will be able to survive between such a predatory merchant and the Whole Foods gorilla.

Bob
Guest
0
Bob
April 10, 2013 1:47 pm

GMOs: Poison, poison, poison. Did I mention it will kill ya? Run as fast as you can from any investment that is even remotely connected to GMOs (also called GE foods), and into the arms of anything that says no to GMO. Once the lawsuits start–Americans aren’t going to put up with crap like this latest Monsanto Protection Act–they will bring this house of cards down like the vulture it is. Love those mixed metaphors, especially when bearing down on reptilians, lol.

april39
Irregular
7
April 10, 2013 5:42 pm
I own 15000 shares of Geely Motors GELYF the Chinese Company that bought Volvo when Ford was throwing the babies out with the bathwater. My 1st buyin was on the rumor: 5000@$0.11 then 10.000 on the news @$ 0.19 and another 5000 for my wife @0.41 Thus we owned 20.000 shares @ $4500 or $0.225/share [call it $ 0.23 w/commission] Getting antsy about my shorting losses I Sold 5000 @ $ 0.60 last year. The stock is now around $0.45 and I have not a clue as to who is making what on a very good car. As a new… Read more »
trainwreck
Member
0
trainwreck
April 11, 2013 4:57 pm
I have been growing organic veggies and herbs with a daughter and son-in-law for 8 years. We are certified annually which requires stringent practices and record keeping and some money. If you want to guarantee that you are buying all organic, know your producer and visit his-her- theirs place of operation and buy direct. True organic and claimed organic are not always the same. Local and fresh includes more than organic producers. Grown organically doesn’t necessarily mean organic. I don’t know how any store can acquire enough truly organic produce to sell in quantity, without industrial farming production and long… Read more »
Thomas J. Bates
Guest
0
Thomas J. Bates
May 13, 2013 3:05 pm
This is a comment on stores, not stocks. I have been in Whole Foods multiple times but only bought there once, eating from the pound per item buffet for lunch with my daughter who likes Whole Foods. WAY OVERPRICED. But some people will overpay and so it seems to do well. I like Trader Joes and would have bought their stock years ago…if it had been publicly available–but it wasn’t. Some things are expensive but many reasonable–even Two Buck Chuck wine, now $3.49? is a great buy. QUESTION–what do you think about Fairway (recent IPO, I would have bought at… Read more »
Walt
Guest
0
Walt
May 14, 2013 11:39 pm
I spent 12 years in the natural foods industry, including four years owning my own store. I worked for Vitamin Cottage (Natural Grocers) at one point and I personally know, or knew, the Isleys, including the original founders. These people worked 16 hours a day for years to get where they are now, and I guarantee you there is no one in the business as knowledgable as they are. Their business model is simply brilliant and they know and have always known how to make money. They are NOT intimidated by anyone in the industry, be it Safeway, Whole Foods… Read more »
jabcom
Member
0
jabcom
June 22, 2013 11:50 am

There is another alternative to healthy shopping in the Southwest called Sprouts Farmers Market. It is a cross between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and I shop there regularly now that 2 of them have opened within 10 miles of where I live. They have large organic selections and are less expensive than Whole Foods. There was talk of then going public— they are currently owned by Apollo Global Management, one of those Business Development Companies. They have 157 stores as of May 2013. Last year, I got my entire Thanksgiving dinner at Sprouts.

Penny
Guest
0
Penny
June 23, 2013 12:22 am
I too can endorse Sprouts. The store I go to (Arvada CO) was formerly a Sunflower Market store until Sprouts bought out Sunflower. Like Sunflower, Sprouts has great deals on fresh fruit & veg, as well as a good range of organic and vegetarian items. I particularly use them to buy box-lots of produce for canning. They have a good bulk foods section; their meat prices are fair and the selection good. I’ve bought kangaroo meat there, if you’re interested. With this article you’ve whetted my interest in Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers, but I just can’t see them as the next… Read more »
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