FTC Seeks Public Comments on Two More Proposed Whole Foods Divestitures, Docket No. 9324, FTC File No. 071 0114 #547292-00024

Submission Number:
Laura Coblentz
Initiative Name:
FTC Seeks Public Comments on Two More Proposed Whole Foods Divestitures, Docket No. 9324, FTC File No. 071 0114
To the FTC: I am writing to express my desire to see Alfalfa's returned to its Boulder roots. As you know, Boulder is one of the most well-developed natural foods markets in the US. When the acquisition by Whole Foods was approved by the courts, Boulder lost an important retail alternative to Whole Foods. It is clear that Whole Foods' intentions were to put a competitor out of business so that they could own the market. The FTC tried to prevent this, but the courts overruled. Now that Whole Foods operates 4 stores in Boulder without any competition, a viable competitor would like to fill the gap left by Whole Foods by opening Alfalfa's at Broadway and Arapahoe (a re-opening, actually!) The original Alfalfa's was the one of the first large-scale natural and organic foods stores in Boulder and even the nation. It was a vibrant, busy hub of the nascent natural foods business, and, since then, Boulder has become a think tank and incubator for ideas and companies in this industry. Bringing Alfalfa's back to Boulder, where it belongs, would be consolation for the loss of Wild Oats headquarters and 3 stores, which employed 400 people locally (almost all of whom lost their jobs). In short, we want Alfalfa's back. It was a mistake to allow the Whole Foods acquisition to go through, as we all knew it was a deliberate attempt to remove competition here in this market and elsewhere in the country (Portland, ME, Salt Lake City, Denver, CO, Westport, CT, Phoenix, AZ, Portland, OR, etc.). That said, this is about Boulder and it's time to right the wrong and restore competition in specialty natural/organic foods in this market. The brand name Alfalfa's means more to Boulder than it will ever mean to any other consumer. While nothing can bring back Wild Oats to Boulder, allowing the community here to revitalize the retail brand that started it all, Alfalfa's, will be symbolic consolation and economically significant for the natural foods consumer and business community here. Sincerely, Laura Coblentz