This year has been, and continues to be, challenging, to put it mildly. But seeing how so many in the industry have gone above and beyond to support their communities and serve the greater good has been a beautiful bright spot. We’ve been reporting on the many efforts being taken since March—you can read up on the initiatives and acts of kindness by searching the tag “Community Care” on Suppliers, manufacturers, many have stepped up. But on this page, I want to recognize the retailers.

As Scott Steinford, Founder, Trust Transparency Center, notes in his Tracking Transparency column exploring the impact of the coronavirus on the industry, “The most immediate negative impact of the pandemic to the supplement industry became the impact at retail. With consumer fear and lockdowns becoming the new normal, the brick and mortar retailers suffered first.”

Suffered—but held strong. Every year for the past 30 years, WholeFoods Magazine has selected a Retailer of the Year (ROTY), shining a spotlight on one natural products retailer who has been exceptional. It’s never easy to select just one winner when so many in the industry are standouts. And in 2020, as natural products retailers all throughout the country have stood on the frontlines for the good of their neighborhoods, it’s even more of a challenge to single out just one. So I won’t do that...not yet, at least. Here, I want to spotlight our three finalists:
  • Weavers Way, with three stores in Pennsylvania, has a mission to provide high-quality, fairly priced foods and a broader understanding of their importance with a commitment to forging a bond between local sustainable food producers and the co-op community.
  • Mandela Grocery Co-op, with one location in California, is dedicated to support businesses run by people of color and has a deep commitment to create opportunity for interdependence in the food space, where POC entrepreneurs generate livable incomes that support their families.
  • Co-opportunity Market, with two locations in California, connects people to local growers, suppliers and producers with health, sustainability and ethics in mind. The goal: to strengthen community through a commitment to a strong, local food system, clean ingredients, and responsible sourcing.
If you aren’t familiar with these retailers, definitely check out their websites. They are making a serious positive impact in their communities, and there is a lot of inspiration that can be gained by exploring their social media feeds.

Retailer of the Year does have one winner, though, and after much deliberation, and with our thanks to all who nominated retailers for the honor, we selected the award recipient. Turn to page 9 to find out who will be the 30th Annual WholeFoods Magazine Retailer of the Year.

And to all retailers, once again we thank you, and we remain dedicated to delivering insights and information that will help you support your community and your bottom line. Steinford offers one gem: He notes that we are now months into the pandemic with no end in sight, but one clear path has emerged as a way to help retailers adapt to the “new normal.” Take a look at his insights and how they can help support your success here.

Maggie Jaqua


Join us for more education!

On October 20-21, 2020, WholeFoods Magazine and Trust Transparency Center will host our next virtual event in the #NaturallyInformed series: Driving Opportunities in the Microbiome Space. The microbiome category is hot, with probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods topping trends lists and firmly in the sights of investors, FMCG, and retailers. This Naturally Informed event will provide expert insights on the latest science and technologies driving development, merchandising and communication strategies for retailers, and the inside scoop on what will drive new opportunities in the market. Reserve your seat today at