After 25 years of serving Flagstaff customers, New Frontiers Natural Marketplace will be sold to another natural food company.
The owner of the New Frontiers has sold four of his five stores, including Flagstaff’s, to Whole Foods Market. The company will keep its organic farms and its Solvang, Calif., store.
“Over the years, when I have at times wondered if our stores would someday merge with a larger, strategic partner, Whole Foods Market has always been my premier choice,” said Jonathan King, president of New Frontiers in a press release.
Marci Frumkin, the executive marketing coordinator for Whole Foods, said customers shouldn’t expect any immediate changes.
“Customers can expect great as well as highly competitive pricing,” she said.
As part of the agreement, Whole Foods Market will offer jobs to the employees at the four acquired locations.
Those employees who don’t currently make Whole Foods’ $11 per hour minimum wage will be brought up to it, she said.
“We’re actually very closely aligned,” Frumkin said. “We’re both community oriented and we’re happy to learn from what New Frontiers has created here. We want to take our time.”
Frumkin said Whole Foods will eventually bring in some of its suppliers of humanely raised meat, sustainably caught seafood and change the sign outside. It will also continue to stock local vendors and is looking at carrying beer and wine. New Frontiers currently offers sustainably caught seafood and is known for organic fruits and vegetables, some of which it grows itself.
It also donates 5 percent of its sales on Wednesdays to local nonprofits.
According to its website, New Frontiers started in 1987 in Salt Lake City. It purchased a store in Flagstaff in 1988 and moved to its current location at the corner of Butler Avenue and Sawmill Road in 2008.
According to its website, Whole Foods also offers organic produce, sustainably caught seafood and raised meat. It donates 5 percent of its sales several times a year to local nonprofits and donates food to local food banks. Whole Foods also offers a loan program for local producers.
Whole Foods started in a similar way. The company was created in 1980 with the merger of two natural food stores in Austin, Texas.
Whole Foods started expanding outside the Texas market in 1988 when it opened a store in New Orleans. The company currently has 373 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
“We want to take it to the next level,” Frumkin said. “We’re really excited to be here and share what we do. We’re looking forward to a long history with Flagstaff.”
The deal will be finalized in the next few weeks, she said.
Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa can be reached at email@example.com or 556-2253.