- Whole Foods Market has agreed to acquire Jackson Whole Grocer, a family owned natural foods store in Jackson, Wyoming, according to an emailed press release. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in early 2021, were not disclosed.
- Jackson Whole Grocer, which employs approximately 140 people and operates a single store, carries organic, natural and local foods as well as conventional groceries and a selection of prepared foods. The store is slated to stay open during the transition.
- Whole Foods’ decision to purchase the local grocer, which has operated independently since its founding roughly 30 years ago, brings the chain to Wyoming for the first time.
The arrival of Whole Foods in Jackson marks the end of an era in the upscale resort town, which is known worldwide as a skiing destination near the state's border with Idaho. The soon-to-be-former Jackson Whole Grocer has operated independently since its founding as a conventional grocery store in 1987, and “is closely connected to the community and consistently contributes to its wellbeing,” according to its website.
Once it takes over, Whole Foods intends to position the store “as a destination to discover new flavors and local items unique to this area,” Bill Jordan, regional president of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods, said in a statement.
“We're very similar to a Whole Foods and this is why it's worked out very well," said Mike Shepler, assistant store director of Jackson Whole Grocer. "From a mission statement and guiding principles standpoint, we're very much aligned. We’re community-driven, employee-drive and environmentally friendly."
Whole Foods is the latest national retailer to come to the Jackson area. REI plans to open a store in a space formerly occupied by the defunct Lucky’s Market, and Target is slated to open a store at the site of a former Kmart location, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Whole Foods’ decision to enter the sparsely populated Wyoming market marks the retailer’s continued expansion in the West. The retailer announced in October that it would open its first store in Montana. Unlike its arrangement to enter Wyoming by taking over an existing food retailer, Whole Foods is entering the state’s northern neighbor by replacing a former Fuddruckers restaurant as part of the redevelopment of a mall in Bozeman, Montana.
Also in October, Whole Foods opened a store in Denver under the Ideal Market brand. The new store, located on the site of a former Whole Foods store, is the second Ideal Market location Whole Foods has opened since its acquisition of the Colorado-based brand in 2007.
The fate of Jackson Whole Grocer's workforce isn’t clear. According to the press release, Whole Foods intends to "offer positions to as many qualified Jackson Whole Grocer employees as possible,” but the retailers did not provide further details.
In a statement, Jeff Rice, whose family has owned the grocery store since 2010, said they "are confident that our customers and employees will greatly benefit from the working and shopping experience that Whole Foods Market offers."