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Mar 10, 2010 01:12 PM

Planet Organic

Planet Organic is my go-to place for a number of items that I do not find elsewhere. It is IMHO the best in it's genre, and probably responsible for making me more than a bit healthier in my food choices.

So, it troubles me to have learned today that they are in financial difficulty. I don't usually have a problem with Darwinian capitalism, but this one does bother me, and I hope that the remaining execs can pull it together. Not sure what else to say other than if you are a Planet Organic shopper, stock up! (and cross your fingers for a really great organic food provider)

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    1. Somewhere in here I commented on their financials a while ago. Having tried to get a listing with them a while back, I realized that this has become a stock play more so than an organic food store for the key execs.

      And of course a perfect outlet for their vitamin business.

      10 Replies
      1. re: worldwidestuff

        I disagree. Founders have a right to benefit. And you are wrong about it being a "stock play" as the company is and has been trying to divest non-core assets-all non-retail endeavours- for some time, including the vitamin business, and focus on what got them started. At current penny stock levels, I do hope that the remaining execs get rich as they save this very good retail business.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          This would really suck as they are the only choice in Edmonton. At least in Calgary (and Vancouver) there are other choices. I cannot imagine them not doing well in Edmonton. The store in the University area is always packed, and they just renovated taking over the store beside them. Perhaps they would end up closing just some locations? However having the only organic store of its kind in Edmonton must be a money making endeavor.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            Have you been to the NEW Earths General Store location? Huge expansion, and they have FOOD now! its a great development. I think Edmonton is a sadly lacking in natural food variety, but you guys make up for it with your booming farmers markets in the summer!

          2. re: Scary Bill

            But of course should founders benefit from whatever they do. At face value though. Not under the disguise of something they are not .
            I did talk to them. I listened.
            I could have provided those margins they requested. it just did not sound opinion only.

          3. re: worldwidestuff

            I heard one of the founders being interviewed on CBC radio several months ago about their finances, and he was using typical business jargon that pretty much no one who isn't a business person understands and probably no one who isn't covering up their financial situation would choose to use. But what was clear was that he really didn't care if he was selling organic food or toxic waste - he had found a market and was exploiting it. Seemed to know pretty much nothing about the product, just the bottom line.

            1. re: Dan G

              that makes me sad Dan. They have a lot of information in their stores about their corporate policies, is this just part of the schtick? I guess I am naive to think just because they are selling things that are good for you and the environment that they would believe in that and were perhaps a socially conscious corporation. I miss Organic Roots :(

              I wonder if Whole Foods is the same way?

              1. re: cleopatra999

                Cleo and Dan, you have to separate the business that concerns the shareholders and lenders, which I expect you are not concerned about, from the retail business mission statement that the company delivers on, and quite well I think.
                Without profitable strategies the company will not exist-that goes for any company. Whew, hope this is not too OT, but to me this is a relevant store, as so many other traditional retailers are going in the same direction.

                1. re: Scary Bill

                  And yet, they let the original co founders go. Those with the passion. For organic food.


                  1. re: Scary Bill

                    Initial success of a small business can sometimes lead to decisions for that business to expand ambitiously (and become public to bring in more capital to expand), and beyond the ability and capability of the original owners. This is not unusual - but ambitious expansion is always risky even for established companies (eg. CanWest). Perhaps if P.O. had remained local and made decisions to expanded conservatively, P.O. might have been okay. I agree with Scary Bill - you have to separate the business aspect and the mission statement because if you decide to expand the business from a mom and pop shop into a public company, different set of business skills are necessary.

                  2. re: cleopatra999

                    I think unquestionably whole foods is that way, maybe worse.

              2. I am not surprised by this news. I used to shop at The Big Fresh in Edmonton. It generally had outstanding organic produce, and lots of "neat" new products. When they sold to Planet Organic, I noticed a marked deterioration in the quality. I was disappointed, and I have never been wowed by Planet Organic. I now shop at Safeway and, on occasion, Save on Foods (the Calgary Trail store usually has the best organic produce) for organic produce. In both cases, the organic produce is usually consistent, and cheaper than Planet Organic. I don't get the same selection, but I don't have to make a special trip for the "hope" I'll find a good product.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sonic Monkey

                  And Big Fresh carried more local products, such as Sunworks meats.

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Yes we have Community in Calgary and Blush Lanes, not to mention other places - I'm grateful there are options here (I'm a CNM shopper here) but I frequent Edmonton and sad to say not a whole lot of options - really Planet Organic is it unless as mentioned above, you go to mainstream grocers like Safeway/Save On and even the brand selection is sparse. The Edmonton Farmer's Market is great for local produce/meats but we go to Strathcona and it's really only open Saturdays.

                    Sure Planet Organic had high prices but honestly, it provided an option at least for Edmonton. Btw two weekends ago, I purchased one medium sized eggplant and a bag of 7 roma tomatoes from the Strathcona Farmer's Market and it cost me $8.20. I like to support local producers but I've never paid that much at Planet Organic.

                  2. The original comment has been removed