Shannon Hoffmann, GreenAcres Market president, said the purchase of the Health Food Center stores was negotiated with the company’s longtime health food store competitor Rene Shelton, who also sold the company her three Whole Foods Association stores in Wichita. The purchase of the stores should be complete by late October.
“We’ve been healthy competitors with Rene in Wichita for years and have a great respect for how she and her late husband, Bill, ran their business,” Hoffmann said — and don’t confuse these local stores with the Whole Foods Market chain out of Austin.
“My mother, Barb Hoffmann, is our company’s co-owner and CEO. She’d actually been contacting them for the past six years, should the day come for us to have an opportunity to buy their stores.”
GreenAcres Market dipped its toe in Oklahoma’s health food store pool by opening a store in Jenks last year. Hoffmann said the company’s new Oklahoma stores are already well-established in their communities and will continue to be located in their current buildings at the Walnut Square Shopping Center at 7301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City and at 14 NW Sheridan Road in Lawton.
“We are always looking to add more stores in our home markets,” Hoffmann said.
“Oklahoma is really growing, and the addition of the Health Foods Center stores will help bolster our business. We’ve already begun managing the day-to-day business at the stores and plan to continue working with the stores’ 45 to 50 Oklahoma-based employees.”
Considered pioneers in the health food store business, the Sheltons started their venture into the health food store business 42 years ago by opening a store in Lawton.
They later added on various stores in Kansas and one in Oklahoma City.
The Whole Foods Association website quotes Renee Shelton, who is now 85, as she reflects on the growth of health food stores in the United States. She said that more people are interested in their health than ever before and the availability, interest and products is growing.
“When you combine that interest with the growth of alternative medicine, I see nothing but expansion and growth in the industry,” Shelton stated.
Hoffmann said that much like Renee Shelton’s Health Food Center stores, GreenAcres Market also is family-owned with its focus on education and the communities in which their customers live and shop.
“These are well-established stores with strong vitamin and supplement sales that evolved over time,” Hoffmann said.
“We want to get to know our customer base, so there is learning going on for both sides as we get to know our community. We will also work with our Oklahoma teams to find efficiencies and make sure we have the right product mixes.”
She said customers will eventually see more fresh and natural products at the stores, as well as specialty grocery and fun impulse items.
The company’s website is expansive and features information on everything from its wide array of health food products to its customer rewards program and even information about the company’s nationally syndicated GreenAcres HealthTalk radio show.
GreenAcres Market’s history is also highlighted online, and its website describes shopping at the stores as “an event” that promises shoppers their thoughts will become lighter as their mood brightens.
“The colorful produce department tempts you to eat all the colors of the rainbow. Ample samples let you try things you might not be familiar with and the deli/cafe cases are filled with freshly prepared foods to enjoy at the store or to take home for eating later,” The GreenAcres Market website states.
Hoffmann, who opened a GreenAcres Market store in Kansas City six years ago, said the company works hard to create a “really warm shopping experience.”
“We also work closely with our communities on education and special events, and we have a knowledgeable staff,” she said. “There’s a lot of curiosity and a growing awareness in our communities about our stores, and I think you’ll see a more exciting shopping experience with more choices.”