BOULDER, Colo. (FNS) -- Wild Oats Markets has penned a deal to acquire two natural food stores that currently operate under the banner Good Nature Markets, according to Jim Lee, president of Wild Oats here.
With these acquisitions come plans for refurbishment, and the produce department is a high priority, Lee told SN.
"Produce is absolutely the key department," said Lee. "We will expand the produce departments of the newly acquired units to meet our levels, as we position ourselves as the fastest growing company in the fastest growing segment, which is natural food products."
Lee said the expansion of the newly acquired units' produce departments will reflect the kind of offerings available in other Wild Oats stores throughout the chain.
The organic produce category, for instance, is one segment on which the produce department makeovers will concentrate. Typically, about 80% of the items in a Wild Oats Market produce department are organically grown.
One of the newly acquired units is located on the central California coast in Santa Barbara, while the other is located in Victoria, British Columbia on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Wild Oats Markets opted to not purchase a third Good Nature store, located in Del Mar, Calif.
"We are eager to expand our presence into Canada," said Lee. "This marks the first time we will be marketing on Vancouver Island."
It is also Wild Oats' first operation in Santa Barbara. "We think California is a very important marketplace and we had no representation in the Santa Barbara area," said Lee. "Santa Barbara is a place which has passionate advocates for natural markets."
That store is a 12,500 square-foot unit, with a 2,000 square-foot mezzanine, to be renamed Wild Oats. The Victoria unit, a 6,000 square-foot store, will be operated under the Capers banner. Currently Wild Oats Markets operates three Capers units in Canada.