Amazon Acquires One of Austin’s Top Icons

The Forrest Four-Cast: June 16, 2017

In late May, I wrote about how the Alamo Drafthouse and their brilliant marketing campaign for female-only “Wonder Woman” screenings qualified as Austin’s best export.

Yes, the national expansion of this movie-going experience is impressive. But long before Tim League and Company began franchising the city’s eccentric film culture, Whole Foods had pushed our unique approach to healthy living to hundreds of other cities across the United States and around the world.

Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of this most iconic of Austin brands (whose flagship store sits just across 5th Street from the main offices of SXSW) has the potential to re-energize this chain as the epicenter for retail’s future. One imagines that Whole Foods may soon lead the way in drone-powered delivery. Or next-generation checkout options to improve brick-and-mortar pain points. Perhaps we will even see a more robust approach to book and magazine distribution within the Whole Foods umbrella. There are many, many exciting possibilities here.

In light of last night’s acquisition, one of the quotes from co-founder and CEO John Mackey in a profile in the June 2018 issue of Texas Monthly now seems fairly ironic:

“These people [activist investors], they just want to sell Whole Foods Market and make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have to know that I’m going to resist that. That’s my baby. I’m going to protect my kid, and they’ve got to knock Daddy out if they want to take it over.”

By adding Amazon’s relentless approach to efficiency, an Austin baby that already enjoyed significant international appeal just became a lot more compelling. Central Texas’ impact on the world continues!

Hugh Forrest tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often (but not always) cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.

Amazon Acquires One of Austin’s Top Icons was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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