Whole Foods Market founder John McKee is leaving the Austin-based grocery chain next month — but he doesn’t seem ready to close the business just yet.
Mackey, who built Whole Foods from a single store into a natural foods grocery powerhouse, is one of the people behind a new company called Mackey Health America LLC, which media reports say plans to create a chain of plant-based restaurants. and security centers.
According to state filings, Healthy America executives include former longtime Whole Foods executive Betty Foster, who left the Amazon-owned grocer in 2020, and Walter Robb, who resigned as co-chief executive of Whole Foods in 2016. Many starters.
Austin-based Thel America has raised about $31 million from investors this year, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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In a letter to Whlole Foods employees last year, McKee announced that he would be stepping down on September 1. Mackey said he has been with the company for 43 years — he opened a store called Saferway in 1978 before opening his first store. In the year Whole Foods Market in 1980 — and “decided it was time to transition my role as CEO to the next generation of leadership,” he said.
In a letter to staff, McKee found his calling in the 1970s while living in a vegetarian union.
“Many people can go their whole lives without knowing their higher purpose, but I was lucky enough to find mine in 1976 when I was living in a vegetarian joint called Prana House in Austin—two years before we first opened Safer Way,” Mackey said. I began to know what I was called to do in life.”
Along the way, McKee built a reputation as a libertarian who was bold and forthright, critical of government intervention in business affairs. McKee is a champion of the conscious capitalism movement, which focuses business decisions on social impact and worker well-being, not just profit.
According to Bloomberg News, a once-closed job posting for Healthy America calls the venture “an evidence-based lifestyle company, leading the unification of culinary, health care and wellness.” For the first time, we have brought all three under one roof. A ceiling for meaningful change in the health and well-being of individuals.
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Post Healthy America plans to offer both a membership program and a la-carte facilities, Bloomberg reported.
Former executives from the Whole Foods store’s development, finance and human resources departments have also joined the startup, according to their LinkedIn profile, Bloomberg.
Healthy America spokeswoman Robin Kelly, who worked in public relations at Whole Foods, declined to comment on the details of the new job.
One of Austin’s most successful start-up stories, Whole Foods began in 1980 with one store on North Lamar Boulevard. The company It went public in 1992 and debuted on the Fortune 500 list in 2005. In 2005, it became a chain with over 460 stores. In 2017, Amazon’s sales totaled $13.7 billion.
At the time, Amazon promised to bring greater efficiency and scale to the struggling organic grocery chain under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners. In return, the deal gives Amazon access to the grocery market with a national-store presence that serves as a distribution network.