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17 Incredible Things You Didn't Know About Whole Foods

The Wholey Grail of supermarkets.

1. Whole Foods' first store opened in 1980 in Austin with 19 employees, some of whom are still with the company!

2. Some of the founders lived in SaferWay, the food store that eventually became Whole Foods. There were no showers, so they bathed using the hose attached to the dishwasher.

3. A year after the first Whole Foods opened, one of the worst floods in Austin's history hit the city, wiping out most of the store's inventory and equipment.

4. Whole Foods' first West Coast store was unsurprisingly in Palo Alto, Calif. The company expanded into Manhattan in 2001 and the United Kingdom in 2004.

5. Whole Foods' Bowery location in New York City is the largest supermarket in the city.

6. But Whole Foods' largest location is in Austin. This flagship store is 80,000 square feet. The company's headquarters is located above the store.

7. There is even an ice skating rink ON TOP of the flagship Austin location.

8. The company has been on Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies To Work For" for 17 straight years, ever since the magazine started the rankings.

9. The company has an "open policy" when it comes to salary. ANY employee can look up ANY other employee's salary, up to and including the CEO level. The practice is meant to encourage both discussion and competition within the company.

10. The chain pays its employees pretty well.

11. Co-founder and CEO John Mackey has worked on a $1 annual salary since 2007, and has no bonuses or stock options.

12. Whole Foods also has a "salary cap" for its executives. They cannot earn more than 19 times the company's average annual salary.

13. Whole Foods maintains an "unacceptable ingredients" list for food products it sells, and it is constantly updated.

14. At Whole Foods' Westport, Conn., store, two team members are named "King and Queen of Customer Service" for the month. Each member is given two minutes to sprint around the store, collecting as many groceries as possible.

15. Whole Foods offers a microlending program to local farmers called "Local Produce Loan Program."

16. Whole Foods buys local from regional farmers, ranchers, growers, and producers, so every store will have a different selection of items!

17. Finally, Whole Foods stopped offering plastic grocery bags on Earth Day 2008. The company saved 150 million bags in roughly the first year after.

Go forth with this information and shop till you drop!