Whole for 30 years in Penticton

It’s gone through a few locations and a few names, but over the years, the Whole Foods Market has become an institution.

Shelly Hawn

Shelly Hawn

It’s gone through a few locations and a few names, but over the years, the Whole Foods Market has become an institution.

Richard Hunt, the current general manager of the store,  admits that when his wife Shelley Hawn opened the Penticton Bulk Food Emporium in 1983, they had no idea they would still be operating the business three decades later.

“That’s a long, long time, let me tell you,” said Hunt. “We’ve had a very good run at it here in Penticton.

“It’s been a good business to have and we feel we’ve made a difference in a lot of ways. We’re happy with the way things turned out.”

Before hiring her husband to operate the business in 1999, Hawn operated the business through its first  16 years of growth, two changes of location and three name changes.

The first name change, to the  Whole Food Emporium, came in 1989 to better reflect the changing nature of the products in the store.

There weren’t very many organic products available in the early years, said Hunt, and almost none available as packaged consumer goods.

That started changing by the late 1980s. Natural was the key word in the early days. There weren’t many organic products available at the time, but that gradually changed over the years.

“By the late ‘90s you could buy anything that was available in a conventional format in an organic format,” said Hunt. “We used to have to go out and really look hard for them. Now it’s changed where people  are coming and looking for us to sell their product line.”

Greater availability of both packaged product and local organic produce and fruit kept Whole Foods growing, and led to the next name change, to Whole Foods Market.

“I can’t say that 30 years ago, I had a vision of what it is now because a lot of the things we sell now didn’t exist then,” said Hunt. “But it became clear about halfway through the last 30 years that we could grow it into  something much more than what it was.”

Key to the store’s longevity, Hunt said, is that both he and Hawn, 30 years ago and today, walked the talk. They had both been involved in food-related businesses that all had the focus on natural, healthy, high nutritional value.

“We were users of natural and healthy foods,” he said. “We  wanted to be in business doing something we believed in and was part of our daily life. And we still do that.”

Customers run across a broad spectrum, according to hunt, reflecting the still growing interest in organic and healthy foods.

“One of the bigger categories of growth in the last year or two has been young families, who are starting to raise children and they have made a conscious decisions they don’t want to feed their children conventional foods they feel might be harmful, so they come to us,” said Hunt. “But if you came in here on any given day, you would see teenagers to octogenarians and every income bracket.”

Hunt also praises the staff as dedicated and informed and a major part of the store’s success. Without them, he said, the store’s history would have been much different.

“It’s been a great run. It’s been a great place to raise a family and meet a ton of great people. No regrets,” said Hunt.


Just Posted

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Portman takes plunge for Penticton recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read