This issue of WholeFoods has been on my mind for months. It’s WholeFoods Magazine’s 30th anniversary of ownership under the Wainer Family, and I wanted to make the coverage special.
As I started researching the story of how WholeFoods came to be, I realized there was a gaping hole in the pages of WholeFoods history. Never before had we profiled our founder, Howard Wainer. So I started our anniversary coverage there, with an official interview with Howie.
I’ve talked with industry leaders countless times about their careers, their companies’ direction and their own inspirations and dreams. Throughout my seven years at this publication, I’ve been struck time and time again by how many amazing stories there are to tell. We could fill thousands of pages with stories about the great people of our industry*.
I thought that my interview with Howie would be more or less similar to those I’ve done before; it wasn’t five minutes into the discussion before I realized how wrong I was.
The WholeFoods Visionary
Howie told his story with complete honesty and openness, and with plenty of his good humor thrown in. While I had heard the bits and pieces over the years, the story of WholeFoods as a complete picture captivated me and made me prouder than ever to contribute to its pages.
Howie’s journey was one of tremendous hard work and determination as well as decisive action and lucid foresight during a time when the industry was growing fast. Howie’s vision of what this magazine should become shaped WholeFoods like no one else could have and his talent made it a reality. I dare say that Howie and WholeFoods was a match fated to be. This vehicle of nutrition information has shaped countless lives over the years (you’ll see what I mean when you read the profile), and so many people wouldn’t have made it without Howie.
Through WholeFoods, Howie paved a way for others to grow in the industry, and encouraged many of us— as readers, customers and employees—to travel the road together. And, we couldn’t be more grateful.
Inking His Dreams
To many publishers, a magazine is simply paper and ink. Just words on paper with some advertising revenue thrown in. Just a venue to make a profit.
But every so often, you find a publisher with a different take. To them, the magazine is a living, breathing entity that deserves care and respect, to be nurtured, grown and handed down in time to others who care.
This publication has a voice, one that speaks out against injustices and enthusiastically proclaims our industry’s accomplishments. It has a memory, and can recount in its pages the history of a movement it has tracked nearly from its inception. It has a heartbeat, beating fast with the excitement of getting information to those who can use it. It has a soul, feeling compassion for the industry it serves.
This is how the Wainer Family views WholeFoods. It’s their “baby” and the great responsibility of bringing it to you is something none of us WholeFoods family members take lightly. So with this issue, we renew Howie’s promise to you, our readers, first made in 1984: to always provide the finest magazine we can each and every month. We care deeply about this industry, and believe education is the most important contribution we can make to keep it thriving. WF
* Some of the many wonderful people in this industry will be highlighted in our 2014 Editorial Series on Natural Success Stories, which begins next month and will run until October 2014. We’re excited to be featuring many of the incredible companies and people that have shaped our industry, and continue to do so every day. Here’s a glimpse of what will follow: Industry Trailblazers (March), Natural Choice Awards (April), Tomorrow’s Leaders (June), Retailer of the Year (July), Charities and Companies that Give Back (August), Family-Owned Businesses (September) and Leading Ladies of the Industry (October).
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2014