1980 The first Whole Foods Market opens in Austin, Texas, after the merger of two local stores, Safer Way Natural Foods and Clarksville Natural Grocery. The 10,500-square-foot store has an initial staff of 16 people.
1991 The company launches its own Whole Foods brand, becoming the first retailer to maintain a private-label line featuring organic food products; by 2009 the store's 365 Everyday Value line includes more than 2,000 items.
1991 With the acquisition of Wellspring Grocery, of North Carolina, Whole Foods starts to expand its inventory to include more specialty, high-end food items. Wellspring owner Lex Alexander stays on with Whole Foods as director of private-label products.
1996 Whole Foods begins importing a number of foods that are new to the American market, including marcona almonds, two-year-aged parmigiano-reggiano, and Dalmatian coast fig spread. It becomes the first U.S. chain retailer to carry fresh (as compared with canned) olives from France.
2000 Whole Foods works closely with Jan Bastiaansen of the Netherlands to help him become the first certified organic cheese producer in the European Union. Later that year, Whole Foods becomes the first retailer to ship an entire container (40,000 pounds) of organic cheese from the EU to the United States.
2003 Whole Foods is designated America's first National Certified Organic Grocer. Three years earlier, Whole Foods was the first national food retailer to join the USDA advisory board to help develop the U.S. Organic Standards.
2004 With the purchase of UK-based Fresh & Wild stores, Whole Foods begins its expansion into Europe. Three years after that, the first overseas branch bearing the name Whole Foods Market opens in the Kensington area of London; there are now five such stores in the UK.
2007 The Federal Trade Commission seeks to block Whole Foods's $670 million acquisition of Wild Oats Markets, its largest competitor. Whole Foods eventually wins the battle, but only after selling leases for 19 closed Wild Oats stores and divesting itself of 13 still-operating stores to restore competition.
2008 Whole Foods implements stricter guidelines for farmed seafood, reducing environmental impact and requiring vendors to pass a third-party audit. Existing standards prohibited antibiotics, hormones, sulfites, mammalian by-products in feed, and genetically modified or cloned seafood.
2009 Whole Foods employs 52,000 people in more than 280 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. The tenth-largest food and drug store in the U.S., Whole Foods ranks 369th on the Fortune 500 list, with annual sales of approximately $8 billion.