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Feb 7, 2007 03:18 PM

Wild Oats Market

Recently on a trip to Cleveland, I discovered Wild Oats. I had heard plenty about it and gravitiated to the bulk bins where it was a dried bean/fruit/granola lovers dream. I also bought a pound of bulk raw honey for a mere $2.99! And a pound of grade B maple syrup for the same price.

Any advice before I make another trip up there to hit Wild Oats and Trader Joes with a nice dinner at Maggiannos? Its all about 75 minutes away and we only make the trip every other month or so, but Wild Oats is a new one!


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  1. I used to go to Wild Oats until I discovered Whole Foods. I've never gone back...

    9 Replies
    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

      Someone told me once and it may or not be true that Whole Foods goes under different names depending on geographical location. I do believe the same person said Wild Oats was part of the empire.

      Correct me if I have given bad information

      1. re: Tonto

        I don't think so, because we have multiple branches of both in the Boston area. I have found Whole Foods to be much better quality overall.

        However, I will drive out of my way for Wild Oats peanut butter... I can't eat the sugary stuff from the regular market anymore.

        1. re: Tonto

          I had heard the same thing, so being on a computer and all I looked up Wild Oat's corporation. They were founded in Boulder, CO, encompass a few other markets (Henry's, Sun Harvest, and Capers), have a former Ben & Jerry's CEO as president, and trade on Nasdaq as "OATS." Based on that I don't think they're related? I suppose there could be a deep dark secret they're hiding! (


          Either way, I'm an equal opportunity person. I'll stop at whatever natural market is on hand, big corporate chain, little mom & pop, and Wild Oats has been a stop frequently on the west coast. They've got a nice selection of fresh veggies.

          1. re: Tonto

            I think Wild Oats is the same as Henrys

            1. re: KellBell

              Yes, Henry's is owned by Wild Oats, not quite at high end at WO, more of a "farmer's market" feel is what they're going for. All of the Henry's in Arizona closed in December. They are still open in S. Cal. In Texas, Sun Harvest is owned by WO, again, the farmer's market feel. In Oregon, Wild Oats bought a small chain called Nature's Northwest, I'm not sure if they name has changed to WO or not yet.

              There is a new"ish" chain in the SW, i.e., Phoenix, Tucson, Colorado, NM called Sunflower Markets that is owned by the founders of WO, who sold WO several years ago. Sunflower doesn't feel anything like WO to me.

              I don't work for WO or Whole Foods, but I do business with both of them (I'm a rep for products sold in their stores.) But I much prefer WFM over WO. WO is pretty "corporate" now, whereas, WFM still gives its stores alot of autonomy. But, I think that WFM is a little more expensive too.

              1. re: geg5150

                could you give more information on your dealings with various grocery stores like WO and WFM? Ever deal with Central Market in TX? Maybe you could even make a new thread.

                1. re: amkirkland

                  Sure. Why don't you start a new thread with your questions. I don't deal with Central Market directly, but my peers do. I deal mostly with the SW, but do know some about other major and smaller chains across the country. I deal mostly with the natural/organic/gourmet market.

                2. re: geg5150

                  Nature's did have the name change to Wild Oats a few years ago. The one by my house doesn't really seem different since the ownership change.

                  sidenote: my aunt was one of the original founders of Nature's NW, she sold her part early on (years and years ago)

                  1. re: geg5150

                    Agreed, Sunflower Market is very "no frills," not at all like Whole Foods, which feels much more "gourmet." I really enjoyed shopping at Sunflower when I was visiting family in New Mexico--really cheap, and good food selection.

            2. They're not related. Whole Foods did trade under additional names due to their growth by mergers. Examples include Fresh Fields in MD/VA and Bread and Circus in New England. History of all this is not hidden at all

              Whole Foods and Wild Oats are not related, they are competitors. I can't speak to comparison as I've never been in a branch of Wild Oats. There's a small chance a new retail development will bring the first Wild Oats to this area, but it may be more likely they get a second branch of Whole Foods, or maybe justTrader Joe's, which retail planners tend to see in a similar light even though it's a significantly different format. Interesting to hear that a couple of you think Wild Oats doesn't measure up to Whole Foods. From just reading in the past I would have thought they were pretty equivalent.

              3 Replies
              1. re: CrazyOne

                Apparently they're about to be related: the AP is reporting that Whole Foods is going to buy Wild Oats:

                I'd agree that Wild Oats isn't quite as nice (or expensive) as Whole Foods, but it gave me another option for organic foods--I hope that they don't close a bunch of the current Wild Oats stores.

                1. re: Nettie

                  Heh, sure enough, look what happens when you wait a couple weeks.

                  We actually did swing by that Wild Oats in Cleveland on a really impulsive trip up there last weekend to check out a few of the stores not available here. Very nice if it's all you have, but the Whole Foods we have here in Pittsburgh seems equal or better in every way, so not much reason to stop. The best thing is that it's in Ohio and they can have wine. More likely to get that at Trader Joe's, though, which we did do while we were up there. We're already looking to go back because the bottle of Chuck Shaw cabernet seems an appealing batch. (In Ohio, it's $3.39 Chuck, but that's still much cheaper than we can get anything close to equivalent here.) Taking a chance that it already wouldn't be the same batch, of course, but it's fun. It's not really that far. It's already 45 minutes to get to Trader Joe's here, and it's under 2 hours to get up there.

                  1. re: Nettie

                    Whole Foods is buying Wild Oats, confirmed.

                2. The meat cutter at Wild Oats told me they were brothers or brother-in-laws, but I have no proof of that. Whole Foods is better, but they are also a rip off. Here in Portland Maine we have a Wild Oats, and a Whole Foods opening this coming week.

                  1. Here just north of the Chicago city limits we have a Wild Oats and a Whole Foods within a mile of each other, on the same street in fact. Whole Foods has better quality, better variety, and much better prices (not that Whole Foods is inexpensive, just that Wild Oats is generally even more expensive than Whole Foods). Whole Foods also offers a lot of things that Wild Oats doesn't - in-store sampling, classes, etc. Not surprisingly, Whole Foods always is crowded while Wild Oats is always pretty empty. We haven't been able to figure out how Wild Oats has stayed in business.

                    1. I am writing a paper about the natural and organic food retail industry. WFM is our focus. From your comments, it seems WFM is more costly but also has more gourmet selection and it appears WFM stores have more autonomy than WO. There is no WO or Trader Joe's in the area, but a Central Market is nearby. It seems to me CM gives more customer attention in produce, meats and adult beverages, but WFM has more shelf products. I have to make suggestions for WFM improvement. What do you suggest?