INFRA Chief Bullish on Independents After Whole Foods + Amazon Closes

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St. Paul, MN — The head of the nation’s leading trade group for independent natural foods retailers says the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon.com puts independents “in the driver’s seat.”

At the Independent Natural Foods Retailers Association (INFRA), “we’re seeing this as a tremendous opportunity to reinforce to our shoppers the fact the businesses are locally owned and affect the local economy. There’s an opportunity to reinvent the wheel for what the natural products industry even means,” said INFRA CEO Corinne Shindelar. “In our mind, this almost takes Whole Foods out of the equation. We are the leaders in being able to educate and meet the consumer’s needs. Who knows what Whole Foods will look like under Amazon’s direction?”

While more traditional-style grocers might have cause for concern, Shindelar expressed nothing but optimism. She said 70% of the 240 INFRA members (360 doors in all) enjoyed higher comparable store sales in 2016 and when taken in aggregate, INFRA membership comped higher than any other chain.

Part of the INFRA 2018 strategic plan involves messaging around the value of local retailers to the local economy. Shindelar said money will go into supporting members in getting the word out.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, October 2017

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