retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Huffington Post reports that Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, recently told the Milken Institute's Global Conference 2013 that the company's decision to open a store in Detroit was about more than turning a profit.

""What we're trying to do in Detroit stretch the culture, stretch the mission a little bit." Robb said. "Culture is a living, breathing thing. It’s happening all the time ... I see thousands of communities across the United States don't have fresh healthy food ... In Detroit, within the 138 square miles, the life expectancy is 12 years less than outside the city limits. That just happened to be, the story is too long for today, why we started there. We have a particular set of skills. We're going there to participate in the community."

And, he added: "We've tried to put the community first in this effort. I know that we're learning as much as we're giving. Not only are we going after the affordability and the accessibility ... we're going after these hard issues. Because we're going after elitism, we're going after racism."

Robb concluded: "This experiment of doing this, trying this, has been a wonderful stretch for us, and also tremendous learning experiment. I think the culture sees it's okay to take risks, it's okay to take a step forward and remain open to what you can learn."
KC's View:
There is a little bit of off-putting grandiosity about Robb's pronouncements ... but it may be that this is only in the reading of the text, and when he delivered them it was with some degree of humility.

And maybe real and sustainable change can only take place when people have grand aspirations.